When you present to the ER
with symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain, the most important thing you can do is ask the doctor, “How do you know I do not have a PE?”
As PE symptoms are often similar to other medical incidents, such as panic attacks and heart attacks, doctors must act quickly to determine the cause and correct course of action.
Blood tests, CT scans, EKG/ECG, ultrasound, and/or MRIs
may be performed in addition to a physical exam and patient intake questions.
If you are diagnosed with a PE
, the outcome depends on the expertise of the treatment team activated to provide your care. Depending on the severity of the PE, the team will determine the best treatment option. If you are clinically stable, you may do well with hospitalization and blood thinners
. If you are not stable, other treatments may be needed. When indicated, thrombolytics
may be administered to dissolve the clots
quickly. For some patients, surgery is required to remove the clot
. If diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, lives can be saved.
If you are diagnosed with a DVT
, depending on the vein that is thrombosed and your symptoms, additional treatments may be needed. Most DVT are treated with a blood thinner. In more serious DVT that may threaten the limb thrombolytic is used.
If you cannot take blood thinners or do not respond well to them
, a temporary filter may be placed (into the vena cava) known as vena cava filters. The filter allows healthy venous blood flow while preventing clots from traveling to the lungs. It is important to remove these temporary filters once you are better to avoid long term filter complications.
Who Is At Risk For Pulmonary Embolism?