Erlanger Respiratory, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine
979 East 3rd St.
Chattanooga, TN 37403
What is Pulmonary Embolism?
A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of an artery in the lungs. Usually this blockage is a clot. These clots are small but can be deadly.
What are the Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism?
- Shortness of breath, usually a sudden onset
- Chest pain that worsens with coughing and taking deep breaths
- Coughing that produces pink, frothy mucus
- Increased heart rate and /or heart palpitations
- Low oxygen supply in the body
Sudden onset of these symptoms can be life threatening. Seek medical attention immediately.
How is Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosed?
It can be difficult to diagnose a Pulmonary Embolism because other medical conditions such as heart attacks or even anxiety can present with the same symptoms.
- Accurate medical history can help rule out some conditions
- Physical exam by a Physician
- Imaging to include chest x-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, VQ scan, or MRI
- Arterial Blood Gas
How is Pulmonary EmobolismTreated?
- Anticoagulants to thin blood and break up clots
- Thrombolytics to dissolve clots
- Surgical clot removal
- Preventative measures include wearing compressions socks and increasing physical activity
What Resources Does Erlanger Offer for Pulmonary Embolism?