Breath

Signs And Symptoms Of Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism

is a blockage of the main artery of the lung. This blocking substance travels from some other part of the body through the bloodstream. A pulmonary embolus may occur along with shortness of breath and chest pain. The chest pain is very sharp and deteriorates when taking a deep breath. It is known as pleurisy or pleuritic pain. It is usually accompanied with cough lined with blood sputum.

The patient may have stable vital signs which includes:

  • heart rate (frequently elevated heart rate is observed in patients)
  • blood pressure
  • oxygen saturation
  • respiratory rate

A severe attack of pulmonary embolus can lead to a cardiac arrest or shock.

Cardiac arrest

occurs when a large clot blocks the blood outflow from the right side of the heart to the lungs. This condition is known as saddle embolus.

Oxygen saturation, heart rate and blood pressure can be variably compromised depending on the amount of the blood clot ( clot load or clot burden).

Oxygen saturation

might decrease as oxygen molecules are not attached to some red blood cells. Generally, it approaches 100% in a healthy individual at sea level.

The patient may be weak, lightheaded and

cyanotic

(lack of oxygen in red blood cells causes a blue tinged skin color). In few rare cases, pulmonary embolus causes sudden death, where the patient collapses due to difficulty in breathing and suffer a cardiac arrest.

Signs And Symptoms Of Pulmonary Embolism

  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Leg swelling
  • Weak pulse
  • Excessive sweating
  • Wheezing
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Clammy skin
  • Fainting or lightheadedness

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