Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism - Symptoms

Question:What symptoms did you experience with your pulmonary embolism?

Comment from: lhessler816, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I thought I had pulled a muscle from shoveling snow and bowling. My friends were actually making fun of me because they thought I was just that weak. I took it all as a joke. That night, after a massage, all of a sudden I got really sharp stabbing pains all over my chest, my back, and my side. My boyfriend thought I was having a stroke. I couldn't breathe in; I couldn't stand up, or anything. I laughed it off as being really, really sore, and for the next 15 minutes sat in the bathroom crying because I didn't know what was wrong. My muscles loosened enough that I could crawl back into bed, and propped up with a pillow, I took four Tylenols, and fell asleep taking shallow breaths. The next four days got worse and worse – it felt like my bra was too tight no matter what I did. The pain radiated into my right shoulder and was very extreme. Then I started coughing up lots of blood. I went to the ER. After some research, I told the ER doctor that either I had bad pneumonia or a pulmonary embolism. I didn't know the reality of it – just what I read. And there it was – after high D-dimer levels, a chest X-Ray, and a CT scan – I had a PE with a very large infarction. I had recently started taking birth control to regulate periods. Yes – I was a smoker, but didn't understand the risks. I'm not smoking anymore, and I'm on Xarelto for the next 3 to 6 months. And it sucks. I have the worst headaches and my eyes go fuzzy. I get head rushes, lose my breath from walking to and from my car, and it feels like there's a knife stuck in my lung. It's been four weeks and I haven't slept thought a whole night since. Oh – and I just turned 30. I had no idea what I was in for.

Comment from: OkieAnnie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 05

I recently experienced my second pulmonary embolism. My first was 10 years ago, and reflecting back the symptoms were very much the same both times. My first occurred at age 55, following a knee scope the previous day. The scope was performed early in the day and I was released in the afternoon. The next morning, about an hour after waking up, I became nauseous, my heart was racing, I had a crushing pain in my chest, and it was difficult to breathe. I made it to the couch before passing out. My neighbor came over to check on me and I was taken to the hospital. The diagnosis was a pulmonary embolism. I spent a week in the hospital, after which I was sent home with five days of Lovenox and Coumadin. My second pulmonary embolism occurred a month ago. I began having difficulty breathing, my heart was racing, and I was suddenly very tired. I headed for bed, only to decide I was too hungry to get to sleep. Within about 15 minutes I was nauseous and vomited. The next morning I felt better, but was tired and dragged all day. Once again that evening when I tried to go to sleep, I felt very hungry. However, this time I avoided eating. Within 15 minutes of lying down, I began having chest pains, was nauseated, and my heart was racing. I took my blood pressure, which was 139/72. I slept on the bathroom floor. The next day I went to the ER and had a CT scan, which revealed a saddle embolism in both lungs. I was immediately transferred to a larger hospital with a better-equipped ICU. I remained in intensive care for three days before being transferred to a medical/surgical unit for another eight days. I am now at home taking Coumadin indefinitely and Lovenox for the next five days.

Comment from: stacycap, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 18

I experienced chest pains mostly on my right side near my shoulder and right lower side. I could not inhale fully without having sharp pains and felt a lot of pressure near my sternum. I went to urgent care and they did blood tests and chest x-ray (which came back fine). My blood test was abnormal so had to get a CT scan and they found multiple blood clots in my lungs. Still don't know why or how this came along since I am 20 years old, young and healthy adult. #1 they think it is from Nuvo Ring, don't ever take it. Now I am on Coumadin 6months and Lovenox for 5 days.

Comment from: JBB, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 16

I had a medium amount of chest pain - right in the center of my chest. I've had angina before and thought that was what it was. I was very surprised when they said the CT scan showed a few pulmonary embolisms. No other symptoms. And then two weeks later I had another one. Same - just chest pain.

Comment from: Rachel, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 16

Today I am finally home after 9 long days in the hospital. I was found to have clots in both lungs. It started 3 month ago when I had my asthma so flared up I couldn't seem to get better no matter how many breathing treatments I had. I ended up with bronchial attacks and on top of that I also got a very hard case of the influenza. It took me 4 days to get rid of the high fevers. I was having a lot of coughing spasms. I noticed two weeks before than that suddenly I had a very sharp pain on my left upper arm directly into my left breast; it felt like someone had dug a knife. I thought it was because I had been coughing so hard for many weeks. Never would I have known it was clots in my lungs. I had more frequent shortness of breath especially when climbing the stairs or walking too fast. I had notice I was losing myself. My daughter took me to the ER because my breathing was getting harder and my heart started to race. She knew I was getting discoloration in my skin and the fever was not helping. If it wouldn't have been for her forcing me to go I might not be here sharing this with you. We just seem to take everything for granted and we ignore many signs that the body gives us. In my case I don't have insurance and that played a big factor. I am still young and my children need me. I am so blessed I have another chance. God Bless you.


Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Pulmonary Embolism (Blood Clot in the Lung) - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary Embolism (Blood Clot in the Lung) - Diagnosis Question: Describe the exams and tests you received that led to a diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary Embolism - Venous Doppler Question: Did you have a venous doppler study, or ultrasound? Please share your experience.
Pulmonary Embolism - Thrombolytic Therapy Question: Did you or someone you know receive thrombolytic therapy for a pulmonary embolism? Please share your story.

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