What Is Pulmonary Embolism?

Pulmonary Embolism occurs when a blood clot becomes lodged in the lungs, blocking blood flow. This can block blood flow and reduce oxygen delivery to the tissues of the lungs, resulting in severe breathing difficulties.

Pulmonary Embolism can cause tachycardia or hypertension because it is a serious and life-threatening condition.

Common Types of Pulmonary Embolism?

  • Acute massive pulmonary embolism: This occurs when an extensive amount of thrombus blocks a large portion of the pulmonary circulation, resulting in severe respiratory symptoms and possible death.
  • Air embolism: This occurs when air enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain, heart, or lungs. This can be caused by an injury to the chest or head or occur during some surgeries.
  • Central pulmonary embolism: This is a serious condition when a blood clot or other blockage forms in one of the main arteries leading to your lungs. This condition can restrict or completely cut off the flow of oxygenated blood to parts of your lungs, ultimately leading to severe respiratory difficulties and even death if left untreated.
  • Deep vein thrombosis: This is a severe condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins in your body. Blood can pool together to form a clot that can travel to other parts of your body, including your lungs.
  • Fat embolism: Fat embolism is when fat particles enter the bloodstream and block small arteries. The most common cause of fat embolism is severe trauma caused by major accidents or surgery.
  • Saddle Pulmonary embolism: Saddle pulmonary embolism is a hazardous condition involving blockage of blood flow in the lungs. It can lead to severe complications and even death if not treated properly. The cause of saddle pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that forms in one of the veins deep within the legs or pelvis.
  • Submassive pulmonary embolism: This type of pulmonary embolism is less severe but still causes damage to the lungs and circulatory system.


Symptoms of pulmonary embolism may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood

If you suspect that you may have a pulmonary embolism, it is important to seek medical attention right away. The condition can be life-threatening if it is not treated promptly.

Your doctor can perform diagnostic tests and provide appropriate treatment to help you manage your symptoms and reduce your risk of complications.


Treatment for pulmonary embolism typically includes:

  • Anticoagulant medications to prevent new clots from forming
  • Procedures to either remove the clot or break it up into smaller pieces.
  • Thrombolytic therapy involves breaking up existing blood clots and restoring blood flow through the affected vessels.

If left untreated, pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening and lead to heart attack, stroke, or possible death.

With early diagnosis and treatment, most people with this condition can recover fully.


Pulmonary embolism can be diagnosed using several different techniques like, imaging tests:

  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI

These tests will create images of your lungs which can help doctors identify areas of blockage and see how severe the clot is.

In addition, your doctor may also perform blood tests to check for specific proteins or enzymes that can indicate the presence of a clot.

Another way to diagnose pulmonary embolism is through specialized breathing tests, such as a pulmonary function test or arterial blood gas test.

Risk factors

  • History of blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Advanced age -Family history of blood clots
  • Cancer pregnancy -Use of certain medications
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Individuals who have recently had surgery or are immobile after an injury may also be at increased risk for developing this condition.

Pulmonary Embolism Response Team Activation

The Pulmonary Embolism Response Team Activation at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital-Westover Hills is a multidisciplinary team that coordinates and expedites appropriate treatment of pulmonary embolism.

Call 844-661-2255