Definition of Pulmonary Embolism

In this article, we will discuss the Definition of Pulmonary Embolism. So, let’s get started.

Definition

It is the obstruction of pulmonary artery or one of its branches by an embolus. The embolus usually is a blood clot swept into circulation from a large peripheral vein, particularly a vein in the leg or pelvis. The effects of pulmonary embolism depend on the size of the embolus and the amount of lung tissue involved. When an embolus becomes lodged in a pulmonary blood vessel, it prevents adequate blood supply to the lung, interferes with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and results in arterial hypoxia. Simple, uncomplicated embolism produces such cardiopulmonary symptoms as dyspnea, tachypnea, persistent cough, pleuritic pain, and hemoptysis. Apprehension is a common symptom. On rare occasions the cardiopulmonary symptoms may be acute, occuring suddenly and quickly producing cyanosis and shock.

Symptoms

  • Increased temperature, pulse, and respiratory rate
  • Changes in patient color
  • Severe chest pain/dyspnea
  • Pleurisy/blood stained sputum
  • Cough, diaphoresis, apprehension
  • Low grade fever
  • Bulging neck veins
  • Altered mental status
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