Pulmonary Embolism (cont.)

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Venous Doppler study

Ultrasound of the legs, also known as venous Doppler studies, may be used to look for blood clots in the legs of a patient suspected of having a pulmonary embolus. If a deep vein thrombosis exists, it can be inferred that chest pain and shortness of breath may be due to a pulmonary embolism. The treatment for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus is generally the same.


Echocardiography or ultrasound of the heart may be helpful if it shows that there is strain on the right side of the heart.

If non-invasive tests are negative and the healthcare provider still has significant concerns, then the healthcare professional and the patient need to discuss the benefits and risks of treatment versus invasive testing like angiography.

What is the treatment for pulmonary embolism?

  • The best treatment for a pulmonary embolus is prevention. Minimizing the risk of deep vein thrombosis is key in preventing a potentially fatal illness.
  • The initial decision is whether the patient requires hospitalization. Recent studies suggest that those patients with a small pulmonary embolus, who are hemodynamically stable (normal vital signs) and who can be compliant with treatment, may be treated at home with close outpatient follow-up. Patients who are stable have normal vital signs and show no evidence of right heart strain on blood tests, EKG and CT.
  • Patients with abnoraml or unstable vital signs need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. Those who have difficulty understanding or administering their medications, have unstable social situations may also need to be observed.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2015

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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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