What does it mean if the doctors say they don't know where a pulmonary embolism came from?

What it says. A blod clot in the lung normally did not form there, it got there after traveling from its point of origin. 90% of these clots start in the veins of the legs, the rest come from the arms, or the pelvis. Alternatively, it might be a clumsy way of saying that they don't know why it happened.
Origin unknown. The origin of pulmonary embolism is commonly from the deep veins in the legs, but they can occur from other locations as well. Unless you see a deep vein blockage on a venous ultrasound, the origin of the pulmonary embolism may never be known.

Related Questions

Hi doctors, was just wondering what is a bilateral pulmonary embolism?

Blood clots. Pulmonary emboli are blood clots which travel to the lungs, causing blockage of the arteries returning unoxygenated blood. If the clot is big enough, it can block an artery of sufficient size to cause hemodynamic compromise or death. Read more...

Was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary embolism. Was on meds till jan until I ran out. Can't afford to see a doctor. Is it okay?

Probably not. . You are at risk for more blood clots and more pulmonary emboli. Contact your health department to see if there are free clinics in your area. This is very important. Read more...
Perhaps but unlikely. When was the pe? If treated for six months with anticoagulant you may have stabilized and be ok. Would prefer to have lower extremity ultrasound and know the breathing status. If there is a known underlying clotting issue some folks have to take meds for life. There are free clinics almost everywhere! Read more...

Can a doctor use ultrasound to check for pulmonary embolism? Why would ultrasound be used instead of angiogram?

In a way... In general, a special type of ct scan of the chest with intravenous contrast is how we check for pulmonary embolism (pe). In the past, angiograms were more commonly used. Ultrasound is not used to directly look for pe. However, because most pe originate as clots in the leg, ultrasound of the legs can indirectly give us information about the possibility of pe. I hope this helps! Read more...
Echo. Cardiac echocardiogram can suggest the possibility of a large pulmonary embolism. Other tests are more specific. Lower extremity ultrasound is done to see if a clot may have come from leg veins. Read more...