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A 25-year-old member asked:

What are the warning signs of a pulmonary embolism (pe or blood clot in the lung)?

5 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Aaron Milstone
Pulmonology 27 years experience
Various: The usual warning signs of a pulmonary embolism (pe) include tachycardia (fast heart rate), dyspnea (shortness of breath), chest pain which can be pleuritic (ie hurts when you take a deep breath), fainting (known as syncope) and cyanosis (blue discoloration of the lips or nailbeds).
Dr. Ted King
A Verified Doctoranswered
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Most common: The most common sign of a pe is a fast heart rate. Unfortunately a lot of things can give you a fast heart rate. In truth, no symptoms at all can sometimes occur with a pe.
Dr. Liawaty Ho
Hematology and Oncology 23 years experience
Variable: Symptoms can be variable- from no symptoms whatsoever- to increase heart rate, difficulty in breathing, chest pain especially when taking a deep breath, - these symptoms usually happen all of sudden. If the blood clot is large or affected the central /main arterial area- patient can pass out and people can die from blood clot in the lung. Low grade fever and coughing up blood also can happen.
Dr. Dennis Clifford
A Verified Doctoranswered
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Several signs: Shortness of breath, sharp chest pain, coughing up blood, fainting, and rapid heart rate are all common symptoms of pulmonary emboli. It is one of the most challenging diagnoses to make in medicine on the basis of either symptoms or signs. Because of this, whenever there is a suspicion that is reasonably high, tests must be done to rule it in or out. Surgery, trauma, immobility cancer are risks.
Dr. Sue Ferranti
Internal Medicine 29 years experience
Depends...: Some patients with pe have no symptoms at all. Other patients become acutely short of breath and can have very low oxygen levels, a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, leg swelling as well as other signs and symptoms. If pe is suspected, a person should go to the nearest er as some pes are life-threatening.

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Last updated Dec 7, 2020

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