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Pulmonary Embolism – Five More Questions To Go Over With Your Doctor

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If you have been diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, or PE, you may wish to discuss the following five questions with your physician:

1. What line of treatment will I be given for pulmonary embolism?
Your line of treatment depends upon your doctor’s decision, which will be based on test results, physical examinations, and your medical history. However, any or a combination of the following treatments may be prescribed:
• Oxygen supplementation – This can be given through a ventilator or through a nasal cannula

• Anticoagulant administration- Heparin is a fast-acting anticoagulant that helps the clot to dissolve. Other chemicals found effective are fondaparinux acenocoumarol or phenprocoumon, and enoxaparin.
• Dopamine may be given to restore the fallen blood pressure.
• Inferior vena cava filter – The main vein can have a filter fitted so that in the future clots are filtered out and do not enter the lungs. Persons sensitive or unable to take anticoagulants are given this option.
• Thrombolysis – A large clot may require tissue plasminogen activator and dissolving of the pulmonary embolus and the original clot. It is a surgical procedure but a very effective one. However, this procedure is not recommended for trauma patients or those who have had severe bleeding in an injury that caused the PE.

2. Will I need to undergo surgery?

Surgical procedures may be required if a clot removal and vein filter are recommended by the doctor.

3. What are the risk factors for pulmonary embolism?

Risk factors for PE are:
• Long periods of immobility
• Surgery
• Certain heart conditions
• Deep vein clots in the legs
• Extensive travel
• Damaged vein walls
• Trauma/Injury
• Obesity
• Usage of birth control pills
• Smoking
• Cancer
• Pregnancy
• Heredity

4. What is the prognosis for pulmonary embolism?

The outlook for PE patients depends largely upon the extent of lung damage. Mortaility rate stands at 26 percent (Source: Barritt DW, Jordan SC (1960). "Anticoagulant drugs in the treatment of pulmonary embolism: a controlled trial.". Lancet 1 (7138): 1309–12. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(60)92299-6.PMID 13797091.).

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EmpowHER Guest

Isn't Barritt and Jordan (1960) a little too old to be used as reference after "stands [i.e., currently] at"?

July 29, 2015 - 12:02pm
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