Pulmonary Embolism (cont.)
In this Article
What are the signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism?
Major signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism (PE) include unexplained shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, coughing, or coughing up blood. An arrhythmia (a rapid or irregular heartbeat) also may indicate pulmonary embolism.
In some cases, the only signs and symptoms are related to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These include swelling of the leg or along the vein in the leg, pain or tenderness in the leg, a feeling of increased warmth in the area of the leg that's swollen or tender, and red or discolored skin on the affected leg. See your doctor at once if you have any symptoms of pulmonary embolism or DVT.
It's possible to have a pulmonary embolism and not have any signs or symptoms of pulmonary embolism or DVT.
Other signs and symptoms
How is pulmonary embolism diagnosed?
Doctors who treat patients in the emergency room are often the ones to diagnose pulmonary embolism (PE) with the help of a radiologist (a doctor who deals with x rays and other similar tests).
Medical History and Physical Exam
To diagnose pulmonary embolism, the doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam to:
During the physical exam, the doctor will check your legs for signs of DVT. He or she also will check your blood pressure and your heart and lungs.
There are many different tests that help the doctor determine whether you have pulmonary embolism. The doctor's decision about which tests to use and in which order depends on how you feel when you get to the hospital, your risk factors for pulmonary embolism, available testing options, and other conditions you may have.
You may have one of the following imaging tests:
Certain blood tests may help the doctor find out whether you're likely to have pulmonary embolism.
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