Lung Blood Clot Risk Factors in Women


BOSTON-Abnormal blood clotting in veins can result in blood clots traveling to the lungs. The condition whereby blood clots migrate to the lungs is referred to as pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism can lead to serious lung and heart damage, as well as death.

There are many known risk factors for the development of pulmonary embolism, including preceding cancer, surgery, body trauma, and being immobilized (such as being bedridden).

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (1997;277:642-645) investigated risk factors for pulmonary embolism in women.

Samuel Z. Goldhaber, M.D. and associates at Harvard Medical School studied over 100,000 women aged 30 to 55 years over a 16 year period from 1976 to 1992. Their data indicate that obesity, cigarette smoking, and high blood pressure (hypertension) are associated with an increased risk of pulmonary embolism in women.

It is notable that obesity, cigarette smoking, and high blood pressure are all variables which can be influenced by active patient intervention.

The authors and the editors of MedicineNet encourage the control of these risk factors, not only to reduce risk of pulmonary embolism, but also to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.

For more information, please visit the HYPERTENSION and CHOLESTEROL & THE HEART sites of MedicineNet.