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Blood Clot in Lungs: Pulmonary Embolism

by | Apr 15, 2024

Learn about blood clots in the lungs, also known as pulmonary embolism (PE). Explore causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this serious condition, and discover preventive measures to reduce the risk of pulmonary embolism.

group of young asians leg stretching together

What is Pulmonary Embolism?

 

Known as blood clots in the lungs, a pulmonary embolism is one of the larger blood clots that can develop and stop blood flow to an artery in one of the lungs. These blood clots often initiate in a limb like a leg or arm and travel to the lung. Blood clots in the lungs are life-threatening and need immediate medical assistance. This can cause significant pain and shortness of breath and put the body in a dire state of emergency.

 

Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms 

 

If you aren’t sure if you have a pulmonary embolism, some symptoms will give you insight into something wrong. The common symptoms include the following:

  • Unexplained sharp pains in the back, shoulder, chest, or neck
  • Shortness of breath at any time, during rest or activeness
  • Steady wheezing
  • Bloody mucus with coughing
  • Rapid heartbeats
  • Wheezing
  • Fainting or lightheaded
  • Pale or blue-looking skin
  • Steady sweating

These signs may not all happen at once, but they will start to add up, and the longer you have the blood clot in your lung, the more symptoms you’ll develop from the pulmonary embolism. Some of these symptoms may seem minor, like excessive sweating, but if this isn’t common for you when you’re feeling well, something is wrong within the body.

 

PE Causes

 

There are a few things that can cause a pulmonary embolism, and you must think about if you’ve gone through any of these recently. Blood pooling in a certain part of your body is one of the most common reasons for these blood clots, as it is due to long periods of not being active following surgery, very long plane rides, or bed rest due to a condition. Also, if you’ve recently experienced a vein injury that was severe during surgery or a fracture, you could be at risk for developing a pulmonary embolism.

Some other causes include having a stroke or heart attack in the last few weeks, where blood pooled after a blockage. For those who have issues with blood clotting, especially following chemotherapy, there is a chance that they are at risk for a pulmonary embolism.

 

PE Risk Factors

 

Anyone who’s been diagnosed with DVT or deep vein thrombosis should be aware of blood clots in the lungs, as they are at a higher risk. Those who’ve undergone surgery recently that’s left them with extensive bed rest and vein injuries should also watch for signs of a pulmonary embolism. If you’re relatively healthy but you’ve been taking hormone replacement drugs or birth control, there could be some side effects with blood clotting and could put you at a higher risk for a pulmonary embolism. Read more about the relationship between DVT vs. Pulmonary Embolism.

 

Receiving a Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis

 

If your healthcare professional or doctor thinks that you might have a pulmonary embolism, there are a few tests that can determine if you have one or more blood clots in your lungs.  The first test will be blood work that checks the D-dimer test for clots. Other tests will include a CT scan of your lungs to look for a blockage. If the CT scan is inconclusive, your medical team will use the VQ scan to do a nuclear scan of your lungs for a clot.

Ultrasounds are also used on your limbs to see if a blood clot is on the move to the lungs. To check the condition of your heart, they will also do an echocardiogram to make sure there isn’t any extra stress on the heart, and if there is, locate it for treatment.

When to Worry About Pulmonary Embolism

 

If you’ve started to experience any of the symptoms above for a couple of days, it may be a possible sign that something is wrong. You’ll need to reach out and receive medical attention right away and have your lungs checked for a blockage so that you can begin treatment.

Preventing a Pulmonary Embolism

 

If you’ve experienced a recent surgery, a long plane ride, or gone through chemotherapy, you will want to make compression socks a part of your daily routine to prevent a pulmonary embolism until you can become more active. These compression socks will encourage positive blood flow. You’ll want to get as much physical activity as possible when you can. If you’ve noticed any swelling in your legs, keep your feet elevated twice a day for a half hour, as that also encourages positive blood flow in your legs.

To reduce your risk of pulmonary embolism, you’ll also need to maintain the following like most conditions:

  • Drinking plenty of water and healthy fluids daily
  • Avoiding poor conditions such as smoking or using other tobacco products.
  • Keeping your weight manageable and not overweight

Treatments For a Pulmonary Embolism

 

The most common treatment that patients receive when diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism is a round of blood thinners. Depending on the severity and location of the blood clot, you may have to stay overnight at the hospital where you’re being monitored. Some severe cases may need thrombolytic therapy, where an IV line is used to prevent blood clots and reduce the long-term damage to the lungs and heart if it causes a heart attack. Some patients will require cloot removal using catheters and other clot removal devices. Long-term treatment options may keep you on blood thinners for an extended period.

Receive World-Class Vascular Care and Treatment in Singapore

 

At  Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic, we’re here to answer any questions you may have about medical inquiries related to your vascular health whether it is blood clot in the legs, lungs, or other issues. Contact us today for more information about pulmonary embolism or any other condition you may have related to the vascular system with our vascular specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja.

Varicose Veins and Blood Clots

Are varicose veins and blood clots related? Learn their symptoms, types, and risk factors. Reduce blood clot risks with advanced minimally invasive varicose veins treatments in Singapore.
Am I at Risk of Varicose Veins, Spider Veins, or Deep Vein Thrombosis?
The appearance of varicose and spider veins on your body is nothing of immediate concern. If there are symptoms associated with them, schedule a visit with your doctor to diagnose and treat varicose veins. Spider veins, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur on individuals with all body types, genders, and ages. The following demographics may have a higher chance of experiencing them.

  • Those who are overweight (therefore, maintain a healthy weight to reduce the pressure)
  • Pregnant women
  • Females
  • Individuals between the ages of 40 and 80
  • Those who are inactive/not exercising (even sitting or standing for long periods)
  • Smoker
  • Frequent flyers
  • Those who have had surgery or leg trauma

Varicose veins specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja, offers comprehensive care for varicose veins patients at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore.

Assessment of Varicose Veins

Clinical examination and ultrasound doppler scan are most important tools in assessment and deciding management of varicose veins. This takes about 15-20 minutes to do and is usually done in the clinic itself.

Treatment of Varicose Veins

There are various techniques available to treat varicose veins depending on clinical presentation. These include:

  • Conservative medical management including compression socks
  • Laser endovenous treatment (EVLT)
  • Radio-frequency endovenous ablation (RFA)
  • Clarivein endovenous treatment
  • VenaSeal endovenous closure system
  • Microwave endovenous ablation
  • Open surgery
  • Venous avulsions
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Cryolaser and cryosclerotherapy

What are the Advantages of Minimally Invasive Treatments?

  • No major surgery
  • No or minimal visible scars
  • Quick recovery
  • Same day admission and discharge
  • Clinic based treatments

Learn more about “Spider Veins: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment”. Although they might be a cosmetic concern, they can also lead to serious health issues. You might also be interested to find out more on our blog post, “Deep Vein Thrombosis: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment” about the difference between DVT and varicose veins.

Consult a Vascular Specialist for Your Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

 

Dr. Manish Taneja, a certified vascular and varicose veins specialist in Singapore, has extensive experience in the treatment of all vascular interventions and looks after venous diseases like varicose veins, spider veins, and reticular veins. Come in for a further evaluation and contact us to arrange  your varicose veins appointment today.

Dr. Manish Taneja performing surgery

Varicose Veins Resources

Explore our varicose veins and spider veins resources for patients. Gain insight into the diagnosis and treatment of varicose and spider veins conditions, their underlying causes, symptoms, and complications. Connect with your vascular health.

Keep Varicose Veins and Spider Veins at Bay

If your legs feel sore persistently, achy when standing long periods, or maybe you notice blue or purple veins even bulging in the area, chances are these symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins could lead to other serious venous diseases such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), or Leg Swelling due to increased pressure forming larger blood clots over time. Varicose veins are fully treatable with minimally invasive procedures and treatments offering minimal downtime and quick recovery preventing further complications. Long term effects of untreated varicose veins can hinder your daily life and impact your health.

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore is here to diagnose and treat varicose veins smoothening patients’ experience to find relief and comfort. As a vascular and interventional radiology specialist based in Singapore, Dr. Manish Taneja looks after a spectrum of venous diseases, peripheral vascular malformations, and peripheral arterial disease. Dr. Manish Taneja also has extensive experience in performing all vascular interventions, non-vascular interventions and interventional oncology procedures.

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our varicose veins specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.