- Deep Vein Thrombosis Slideshow Pictures
- Take the DVT and PE Quiz
- Spider & Varicose Veins Pictures Slideshow
- Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism FAQs
- Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism (Blood Clot in the Lung) - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism - Venous Doppler
- Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism - Thrombolytic Therapy
- Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism - Experience
- Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism - Risk Factors
- Pulmonary embolism facts
- What is a pulmonary embolism?
- What are the causes and risk factors for pulmonary embolism?
- What are the signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism?
- How is pulmonary embolism diagnosed?
- PERC Rule for Pulmonary Embolus
- Basic testing (CBC, electrolytes, BUN, creatinine blood test, chest X-ray, EKG)
- Pulmonary angiogram
- d-Dimer blood test
- CT scan
- Ventilation-perfusion scans
- Venous Doppler study
- What is the treatment for pulmonary embolism?
- Thrombolytic therapy
- What is the prognosis for pulmonary embolism?
- Can pulmonary embolism be prevented?
Quick GuideDVT in Pictures: Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis, Beyond Leg Pain and More
What are the causes and risk factors for pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary embolus is the end result of a deep vein thrombosis or blood clot elsewhere in the body. Most commonly, the DVT begins in the leg, but they also can occur in veins within the abdominal cavity or in the arms.
The risk factors for a pulmonary embolism are the same as the risk factors for deep vein thrombosis. These are referred to as Virchow's triad and include:
- prolonged immobilization or alterations in normal blood flow (stasis)
- increased clotting potential of the blood (hypercoagulability)
- damage to the walls of the veins.
Examples of these include the following:
- Extended travel (sitting in a car, airplane, train, etc.)
- Hospitalization or prolonged bed rest
Increased blood clotting potential
- Medications: birth control pills, estrogen
- Genetic predisposition: most commonly, Factor V Leiden deficiency, MHFTHR mutation, Protein C or Protein S deficiencies or anitithrobin III deficiency
- Polycythemia (increased number of red blood cells, the opposite of anemia)
- Pregnancy, including the postpartum period up to 6 to 8 weeks after delivery
Damage to vessel wall
- Prior deep venous thrombosis
- Trauma to the lower leg with or without surgery or casting