Pulmonary Embolism (cont.)

How can pulmonary embolism be prevented?

Preventing pulmonary embolism (PE) begins with preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Knowing whether you're at risk for DVT and taking steps to lower your risk are important.

If you've never had a deep vein clot, but are at risk for it, these are steps you can take to decrease your risk.

  • Exercise your lower leg muscles during long car trips and airplane rides.

  • Get out of bed and move around as soon as you're able after having surgery or being ill. The sooner you move around, the lower your chance of developing a clot.

  • Take medicines to prevent clots after some types of surgery (as directed by your doctor).

  • Follow up with your doctor.

If you already have had DVT or pulmonary embolism, you can take additional steps to help keep new blood clots from forming:

  • Visit your doctor for regular checkups.

  • Use compression stockings to prevent chronic swelling in your legs after DVT (as directed by your doctor).

Contact your doctor at once if you have any signs or symptoms of DVT or pulmonary embolism.

SOURCE: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health

Last Editorial Review: 4/15/2008

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