Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism - Symptoms

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

Comment from: Dotlen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

A few weeks ago I was on a walk and became short of breath in an odd way. I thought it was related to my asthma, which I haven't had that long. The shortness of breath continued for a week. I mentioned it to my therapist, who suggested I go to the ER. I was reluctant to do so, since I didn't feel sick, but I did make an appointment to see my doctor the next day. He sent me for a chest x-ray and some blood tests. That night I had a pain in my leg that felt like a cramp. The next morning, they called to say my D-dimer test, which should be between 0 and 600, was 3,000! They said I should go to the ER, and it was found that I had PE -a bunch of small clots in my lungs, and a big clot in my leg (DVT). I guess I won't ignore symptoms anymore. I had none of the risk factors for clots.

Comment from: Lisa, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 01

I had pain in my left breast bone and back. I was thinking maybe my bra was too tight. I was sweating a lot at night but, I was thinking early stages of menopause. I could feel something in the middle of my chest when I took a deep breath. I was unaware of the symptoms of PE. I still knew something wasn't right so I went to the ER. They ran test and admitted me to the hospital for 7 days. Watch your diet. I was feeling great then the nurse told me I could eat green vegetables. Every since, I have been feeling bad. I had my blood tested and it was a little low.

Comment from: staggie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 02

My symptoms included pain on the right side of my back, and severe pain in top of my shoulder, like I ran into a door box. At first I thought I was having another Kidney Stone attack , and then after being in emerge all day , they decided to send me home, the nurse came to check my vitals one last time and my oxygen had dropped to 79% then the panic was on. So I did have a blood clot in my right lung, and the bottom part of my lung had collapsed. Later that night is when I had the shortness of breath.

Comment from: Robin, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: October 25

I am 77 years old and in good health. I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee. After I awoke from the anesthesia, I felt some pressure on my chest which I reported to the anesthesia doctor. He called the cardiologist who sent me for tests on my heart which was fine. I went home the next day, slept well, got up the next morning, and while reading the paper, suggested to my husband that he go on his walk. Fifteen minutes later I was gasping for air. He returned home about 15 minutes after that and called 911. Had he gone to the grocery store, I'd be dead. As a prophylactic, blood thinners can and are given before operations.

Comment from: Mom of 3, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 25

A few weeks ago after a trip overseas, I noticed that my shoulder hurt. I woke the next morning with a severe pain in my left shoulder and breast/chest area. I was short of breath and my husband rushed me to the hospital. It was a pulmonary embolism (PE) in my right lung. The pain in my left shoulder was referred pain. In hindsight, a few months before all of this, I had charley horses in both legs, off and on. When I was overseas, I had numbness in my calf and, a week later, in my hip. But, who thinks, "Hmm, I must have a blood clot traveling up my leg?" I am very blessed, and after three days in the hospital, I am home and taking Coumadin. Smoking is no longer a pleasure, as it contributed to this PE. The pain I felt was as if someone was trying to put a shovel through my skin/chest. Do not wait and see if this pain goes away; it will kill you.

Comment from: Josie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I suffered for 2 weeks before I was diagnosed with PE. I woke up coughing in the middle of the night, with a feeling of having something caught in the center of my chest. I would have to set upright and wait for the feeling to go away. Next, I had started walking again, and part way through my walk, my arms and legs would ache so bad that I didn't know if I was going to make it home. (this, as I found out later, was from lack of oxygen). For the three days just before I was diagnosed, I felt like I had pneumonia - with funny little pains through my chest, rib cage, down my sides, and through my back and under my shoulder blades. The day of my diagnosis, I was driving on the highway at 100km/hour, holding on to my chest, hardly able to breathe, telling my husband that I think I had better go to outpatients, to get this pneumonia checked out. It turned out to be a Pulmonary Embolism - one large one and multiple small ones. I am now on Warfarin for the rest of my life.

Comment from: Denese, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

I am 38 and was diagnosed years ago with pulmonary embolism. I had chest pain and a little bit of shortness of breath for 7 months. I had blood work showing an elevation of a cardiolipin antibody. I showed it to my cardiologist and he said it wasn't high enough to worry about putting me on blood thinners. One and a half months later I went to the ER because now the shortness of breath was worse. Chest pain was still the same. They reluctantly tested me for blood clots. My left lung was totally full and the right was half way full. There was even a big one. Turns out I have a condition called antiphospholipid syndrome which is a condition where you clot easily. I am on life long blood thinners now and when I go in with chest pain or shortness of breath, they immediately test. Please don't mess with those symptoms. I was told that if they sent me home that time, I would not have survived.

Patient Comments

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Pulmonary Embolism - Treatment Question: What treatments did you undergo for pulmonary embolism?

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