Pulmonary embolism is a condition that occurs when a blockage occurs in one or both of the branches of the pulmonary artery that carry blood to the lungs.
Pulmonary embolism is most often caused by Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a condition where a blood clot (thrombus) forms in the deep veins of the legs. The most common cause of DVT is trauma to the hip or leg. In addition, certain medical conditions create an increased risk of DVT, including paralysis, pregnancy, cancer, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and certain rare blood conditions. DVT may also result from being confined to bed or sitting for a prolonged period of time. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a piece of the clot breaks off and travels (embolizes) to the heart.
A pulmonary embolism may result from failure to timely diagnose and treat DVT. There are many ways in which DVT can be diagnosed, the most common being an ultrasound. DVTs are treated most often by administering anticoagulants (blood t