What is a pulmonary embolism?

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot in the lung. It usually comes from smaller vessels in the leg. Clots forming in the legs are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The clot travels to the lungs and then through the vessels of the lung until it reaches smaller vessels where it becomes wedged. The clot then prevents any further blood from travelling to that section of the lung.

Common symptoms might include:

All the above can also be symptoms for other conditions; however pulmonary embolism can be life threatening so if you are concerned seek the advice of a doctor or go to the nearest accident and emergency department.


Both of these will be continued until blood tests show that the warfarin is adequately thinning the blood. Warfarin is often referrred to as thinning the blood. However it does not actually thin it but it increases the time it takes for your blood to clot.

Once your blood tests show that the right levels have been reached then the heparin is stopped, and the warfarin is continued.

People with PEs may be in hospital for several days until their blood can be adequately thinned. Then they are maintained anticoagulation therapy (warfarin) for six months or longer.


Clopidogrel. NMIHI. Accessed at http://www.nmihi.com/c/clopidogrel.html

Pulmonary Embolism. NMIHI. Accessed at http://www.nmihi.com/p/pulmonary-embolism.htm

Symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Ada Health. Accessed at https://ada.com/ on June 22, 2018.

What is a pulmonary embolism? Cleveland Clinic. Accessed at https://my.clevelandclinic.org/