Pulmonary Embolism Risk

A comprehensive overview of pulmonary embolism covering subjects as: treatment, symptoms, diagnostics, research, causes, pictures and images
Pulmonary Embolism Risk

Pulmonary embolism risk

     The presence of a thrombus in a deep vein in the legs and the existence of a previous episode of pulmonary embolism are the most important risk factors for pulmonary embolism.

     Pulmonary embolism risk factors for development of thrombus (blood clot) are venous stasis (slow blood flow), abnormal thrombogenesis and trauma of the vessel walls. The pulmonary embolism risks are:

  • Venous stasis
  •      Thrombi grow especially when blood flow is not normal. Decreased blood circulation rate may be due to:

    • Prolonged bed rest: after operations, injuries or serious diseases
    • Stay in the chair for a long time, as in the case of long trips by plane
    • Leg paralysis because the legs can not be moved without help.
  • Abnormal thrombogenesis
  •      Some people show a condition in which blood coagulates too fast or too easy. These people are prone to develop large thrombi which break and travel to the lungs. Conditions that may increase thrombus formation are:

    • Hereditary factors (inherited) that some people inherit a tendency to hypercoagulability, which can lead to pulmonary embolism
    • Cancer
    • Heart failure
    • Severe burns
    • Severe infections
    • Use oral contraceptives or other drugs that contain estrogen or estrogen-like hormones (similar to the structure and function of estrogen)
    • Smoking.
    • Trauma to the walls of blood vessels
    •      The blood coagulates in the arteries or in the veins probably after they were injured. Vein damage can be caused by:

      • Major surgery to the legs, abdomen or pelvis
      • Introduction of a central venous catheter (placing a tube into a large vein).

         Other risk factors include:

    • Pregnancy: risk of developing thrombi in a woman is increased during pregnancy and immediately after birth
    • Age: along with age increases the probability of developing thrombi (especially over 70 years)
    • Weight: overweight people have higher risk of developing thrombi
    • Failure of anticoagulant treatment prescribed by a doctor.

         In order for the thrombus to form, some conditions are needed, united as the Virchow's triad:

    • Blood vessel wall damage
    • Slowing of blood flow speeds
    • Hypercoagulability state

         There are diseases that meet one of these conditions, so they can cause / precipitate a pulmonary embolism, considered risk factors:

    • Genetic Diseases: Leyden factor 5 deficiency, antithrombin 3, protein C, S, antiphospholipid syndrome, others (such substances are involved in preventing thrombus formation or their decomposition)
    • Hip surgery, small pool, knees, abdomen
    • Multiple traumatisms
    • Femoral neck fracture
    • Prolonged restraint in medical services by neurological surgery, pneumonia, heart failure, myocardial infarction, hemiplegic
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hematological diseases
    • Contraceptive or hormone therapy, pregnancy, birth
    • Long journeys by plane
    • Smoking
    • Cancer
    • Obesity, hypertension, diabetes
    • Old age

         Complications of pulmonary embolism may include:

    • Sudden death
    • Shock
    • Cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
    • Pulmonary infarction
    • Pleurisy (accumulation of fluids between the two foil the pleura)
    • Paradoxical embolism
    • Stroke
    • Myocardial infarction

         An aggressive stance will be taken into account when a pulmonary embolism is considered life-threatening for the patient. Death by pulmonary embolism usually occurs within 30 minutes of symptoms.

    Important notes about pulmonary embolism

         Pulmonary embolism is given by a thrombus (most commonly), air, fat, pieces of plaque buildup, fluid. It is a disease with high mortality level. Oral anticoagulant therapy has as side effects bleeding, so present yourself to the doctor when you notice blood in the urine, a new heavy vaginal bleeding, red or dark stool, bleeding from the nose that does not stop, various frequent bruises. In people with chronic pulmonary embolism oral treatment is necessary for the entire life. Inferior vena cava filter is indicated only if there is a high risk of death by pulmonary embolism or when the anticoagulant treatment is not able to be taken due to the bleeding that can occur.