Pulmonary Embolism Quiz

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Maxwell J. Nanes

Maxwell J. Nanes, DO (Emergency department)

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Learn more about Pulmonary embolism

Content updated on Nov 2, 2022

What is pulmonary embolism?

Pulmonary embolism is a life threatening condition resulting from a blood clot blocking one or more arteries in the lung. The blood clot typically forms elsewhere in the body e.g. in a vein in the leg, travels in the bloodstream and gets trapped in the artery in the lung. Risk factors include a sedentary lifestyle, blood clotting disorders, cigarette smoking and obesity/being overweight.

Symptoms of pulmonary embolism

  • Chest pain when coughing or during deep breathing

  • Chest pain

  • Feel unsteady or floating when I am standing

  • Loss of appetite

  • Chest discomfort with exercise

  • Feel the heart is pounding

  • Feeling breathless

  • Noisy breathing; e.g. wheezing, rattling

Questions your doctor may ask to check for pulmonary embolism

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose pulmonary embolism

  • Do you have a sharp chest pain when you cough or take a deep breath?

  • Do you have any chest pain?

  • Do you feel lightheaded or like you are floating when you are standing?

  • Do you have less or no appetite, therefore eat less food?

  • Do you have chest tightness when you exercise?

Treatment for pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency requiring treatement in the hospital. Treatment involves medications to prevent worsening, prevent further clots from forming and break down large clots. Surgery or other procedures to remove the clot from the artery or prevent it from reaching the lungs maybe done in life-threatening cases.

View the symptoms of Pulmonary embolism


  • Doherty S. Pulmonary embolism An update. Aust Fam Physician. 2017 Nov;46(11):816-820. PMID: 29101916.


  • Essien EO, Rali P, Mathai SC. Pulmonary Embolism. Med Clin North Am. 2019 May;103(3):549-564. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2018.12.013. PMID: 30955521.


  • Pulmonary embolism. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2018 May 17;4:18031. doi: 10.1038/nrdp.2018.31. PMID: 29770792.


Reviewed By:

Maxwell J. Nanes

Maxwell J. Nanes, DO (Emergency department)

From our team of 50+ doctors

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Developed by doctors.

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