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A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a sudden blockage or decrease of blood flow in one or both lungs that happens when a clot travels into the arteries of the lung (pulmonary arteries). Most blockages come from a blood clot that forms in the vein of a leg or arm (deep vein thrombosis, DVT) and travels to the lungs. A clot is blood that has thickened into a gel or solid. PE is a dangerous and life-threatening condition that needs to be treated right away.
This condition is usually caused by a blood clot that forms in a vein and moves to the lungs. In rare cases, it may be caused by air, fat, part of a tumor, or other tissue that moves through the veins and into the lungs.
You may need a combination of immediate, long-term, and extended treatments. Your treatment may continue for several months (maintenance therapy) or longer depending on your medical conditions. You and your health care provider will work together to choose the treatment program that is best for you.
These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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