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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.). It also depends upon the accompanying medical conditions as on the size and location of the clot. Quick access to a treatment facility is also a big factor. Survivors lead a normal life.

5. What are the steps to preventing a relapse of the condition?

Take frequent breaks on long travels by getting up, walking and stretching every 45 minutes to an hour. Prevention can be effective if medications are taken as per prescription and follow up is regular. Compression stockings are also effective in preventing deep vein thrombosis of the legs for those with a clot history.


Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman (Publisher: Rupa & Co.) and the upcoming Rev Up Your Life! (Publisher: Hay House India). She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health. Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation. Link: http://www.migrainingjenny.wordpress.com and http://www.footstrike.wordpress.com

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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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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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