Comment from: Diana, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 23

I am 65 and just had knee replacement surgery. Two days later my blood pressure dropped drastically (but no other symptoms) and I was sent for a CT scan which showed I have a blood clot in my lungs. I was put on a heparin IV for 4 days and am now taking rivaroxaban, it's an alternative to warfarin which is rat poison and it demands lots of blood tests etc. It's expensive but well worth it!

Comment from: Janesman, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: December 06

I have been diagnosed with PE (pulmonary embolism) twice within the last 2.5 years. My symptoms were not the usual. I had no shortness of breath, no problems listening to the lungs, D-dimer test negative, pain was in my right side lower abdomen. All tests were negative to PE, but I eventually found out that I had a large clot both times. Only severe pain the first time, and my insistence to my family doctor the second time, that I needed to be admitted into hospital probably saved my life.

Comment from: Pam, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 01

I broke my foot and had to have surgery to have a metal screw put in. Two months later I woke up one morning with pain in my right ribcage radiating into my back and up into the right side of my chest. I didn't consider it a heart attack since it was on the right side and I don't have a gall bladder so I thought I'd dislocated a rib since I'd done it before. The next evening as I climbed into bed I had a searing pain in the left side of my chest and I knew I was going to pass out. I tried to get to my husband but passed out. When I came to, I managed to crawl through the door and get his attention. I was taken by ambulance to an emergency room where the nurse and doctor that cared for me immediately had suspicions and sent me for a CT right away. I had a massive PE (pulmonary embolism) and was transferred to a hospital with an available ICU. It was 10 days before I came home. I was put on a heparin IV, Lovenox shots and Coumadin. They finally removed the heparin but then my liver enzymes went way up. Finally they put me back on the heparin and stopped the Lovenox which finally resulted in my enzyme levels dropping. I am now home and on 7.5mg of Coumadin per day. I am extremely fatigued though and wondering when I will be back to normal.

Comment from: Janesman, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 21

I have had pulmonary embolism (PE) twice in the last 3 years. First time was 3 months after surgery to remove my prostate because of cancer. Symptoms were pain that was awakening me at night. The pain was located near my liver region, not in the chest. After 5 nights of this I was flown by chopper to hospital at 1.30 am. It took the hospital 13 hours to find I had PE. The D-dimer test came back negative, so this confused the medical staff. Eight months ago I had a disc removed from neck (C5/C6). Anesthetist before the operation said I would receive a Clexane injection (blood thinner) 24 to 48 hours after the operation because of my risk to PE. A junior doctor at 36 hours after the operation removed this chartered medication. His or her belief was that the chances of PE from a neck operation were almost nil. Four weeks later I was almost fainting while trying to work. My local doctor said nothing was wrong with me. Another week later I was admitted again to hospital. A CT scan showed I had 4 large clots, of which 1 was very massive.

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.

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