Patient Comments: Pulmonary Embolism - Symptoms

Please share your experience with symptoms of pulmonary embolism.

Comment from: Richard, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 01

I had surgery to remove my cancerous prostate and adjacent lymph nodes. The second day after the surgery I felt a slight pain in my left calf. Still catheterized from the surgery I did manage to walk a bit and the pain subsided. A few days later I was awakened by severe back pain and shortness of breath. My wife got me up and we walked around until I belched, which we both thought it was just gas and I went back to bed. After a restless night I awoke with the pain and a feeling that something was not right. I was having a gout attack in my hand and foot, my back was aching, I could not breathe and I was still recovering from surgery. By noon the pain was so severe that I was rushed to the emergency room. There, after much testing, the doctors concurred that I had multiple emboli in my lungs. The pain and shortness of breath lasted for a day and one half and no medication could stop the pain. Finally one last ditch effort of a different drug and an anxiety medicine did allow me to relax and rest. The next morning I was pain free and remained in the hospital 3 more days. Two of the doctors that handled my case told me that I should not have survived such a massive amount of embolisms. I am on blood thinners now and trying to walk as much as I am able but most of all I am just glad to be alive.

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Comment from: sokhermom13, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 30

My presenting symptoms of pulmonary embolism were atypical which caused an incorrect diagnosis of bronchitis for seven weeks. The only symptom I showed was a sudden onset of coughing that I could not stop. I tried Proventil inhaler without success. After three hours, I went to the emergency room (ER), and was given another Proventil treatment, steroids and a codeine cough syrup which worked. I went to a follow-up appointment, had an x-ray done and was told to anticipate that the cough may last up to seven weeks. It was at the seven-week point at which I went to my allergist who provided three Proventil treatments back to back with no improvement in oxygen saturations or coughing and was then transported to the ER. After several hours of treatment and being prepared for discharge, the ER doctor went with her gut feeling at the last minute and ordered a CT which showed bilateral pulmonary embolisms. Again, the only symptom was non-stop coughing. No chest pain at all.

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Comment from: Hollywood, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

The first time I had a pulmonary embolism my symptoms was shortness of breath, coughing and back aches back in 2013 and now it came with a pop in my back followed by sharp pain and coughing.

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Comment from: Mashutka, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I have factor V Leiden, but had never had symptoms, until I suddenly began having episodes of utter fatigue. I went to the emergency room (ER) because I felt so tired and weak I could barely move. The ER doctor played a hunch, I think, and ordered a chest CT with contrast, which showed multiple clots. Fatigue was my only symptom of pulmonary embolism, no chest pain, and no shortness of breath. Thank goodness for a doctor who listened to his gut!

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Patient Comments

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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.
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Pulmonary Embolism - Risk Factors Question: Do you have risk factors for pulmonary embolism?

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