pulmonary embolismmedical dictionary

<cardiology> The lodgment of a blood clot in the lumen of a pulmonary artery, causing a severe dysfunction in respiratory function.

Pulmonary emboli often have origin in the veins of the lower extremities where clots form in the deep leg veins and then travel to the lungs via the venous circulation.

Symptoms and features include acute onset of shortness of breath, chest pain (worse with breathing) and rapid heart rate and respiratory rate. Some individuals may have haemoptysis.

Diagnosis can be made on a ventilation perfusion scan of the lung or on a pulmonary angiogram.

(15 Dec 1997)