Blood clot in lung

Blood clot in lung symptoms

Blood clot in lung symptoms can vary significantly from patient to patient. It is important to think about the possibility of pulmonary embolism (medical name for blood clot in lung) if you have any of the symptoms listed below.

Here is a complete list of blood clot in lung symptoms and signs:

  1. Sudden onset chest pain
  2. Sudden onset sharp back pain going across to chest
  3. Unprovoked shoulder pain
  4. Sudden neck pain
  5. Any breathing pain
  6. Coughing up blood
  7. Sudden loss of energy
  8. Feeling very tired
  9. Feel like fainting all of a sudden
  10. Lightheaded when sitting up
  11. Racing heart
  12. Low blood pressure
  13. Slight fever
  14. Actual fainting
  15. Sudden onset shortness of breath
  16. Running out of breath with activity
  17. Breathing very fast
  18. Falling down
  19. Sudden death

Explanation of specific blood clot in lung symptoms

Blood clot in lung pulmonary artery
The blue blood vessel named pulmonary artery is the site of blood clot in lung. As you can see, this blood vessel drains all blood from both lungs into your heart

Chest pain after pulmonary embolism is usually sharp, but any type of chest pain can be a warning symptom of pulmonary embolism if it happens all of a sudden. When you look at the list of pulmonary embolism symptoms and sign, you see that most of the symptoms happen suddenly. This a very important. Blood clot in lung symptoms start very abrupt. When a clot blocks the flow of blood inside a blood vessel in your lung, you feel that symptom right away. When you have any of the symptoms in the list that happens very quickly, you need to think about the possibility of a pulmonary embolism.

Among blood clot in lung symptoms, back pain can be very deceiving. Back pain is very common and may be easily overlooked. However, if your back pain starts suddenly and gets worse with breathing, you need to think about pulmonary embolism. Back pain in pulmonary embolism may radiate to your chest and may be associated with some degree of shortness of breath.

Pulmonary embolism shoulder pain can be equally deceiving. When you have sharp pain in your shoulder blades, you may not think about blood clot. When evaluating shoulder symptoms, you need to pay attention to how your symptoms stated. If you develop sudden sharp pain in your shoulder blades without any obvious reason, you need to look out for other signs of pulmonary embolism. Pain that gets worse with breathing is worrisome for pulmonary embolism shoulder pain. Pain that goes from your chest to your shoulder blade on one side, and pain that makes you feel weak and dizzy are other examples of possible pulmonary embolism shoulder pain.

Slight fever can be a symptom of blood clot in lung. Sometimes, a low grade fever may distract your doctor. Your doctor may think about a possible infection instead of thinking about blood clot in lung. It is helpful to remember that blood clot in lung, by itself, can cause slight fever without any infection.

Can you die from a blood clot in your lung?

blood clot in lung saddle embolus
A large blood clot in lung can block the flow of blood from the lungs to the heart.

You may have noticed that sudden death is listed as one of the blood clot in lung symptoms and signs. Yes, sudden death is a possible symptom of pulmonary embolism. In fact, Centre for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that sudden death could be the first symptom of pulmonary embolism in about one quarter (25%) of people who suffer from it. Pulmonary embolism death can happen very quickly and is thought be an important cause of sudden death. Blood clot in lung survival rate depends on the location and size of the clot. With blood clot in lungs, chance of survival goes down if the clot is in the major branch of your pulmonary artery (main blood vessel supplying blood to the lungs). Your pulmonary embolism survival rate goes down if your blood clot blocks the flow of blood from the your lungs to your heart.

Multiple blood clots in lungs

It is not uncommon to find multiple blood clots in lungs when being evaluated for possible pulmonary embolism. When you are diagnosed with multiple blood clot in lungs, it may sound more scary. However, multiple blood clots in lungs prognosis is not necessarily worse than that of a single large blood clot in lung. The effects of a blood clot in lung depend mostly on its location. A single large blood clot that completely blocks the flow of blood from both lungs to the heart is the most dangerous blood clot in lung and is called saddle pulmonary embolus. A saddle pulmonary embolus can kill you instantly unless your blood can somehow squeeze past the blockage and reach your heart. Multiple blood clots in lungs that are smaller in size do not block significant amount of blood flow and do not cause immediately life threatening complications.

Worried about blood clot in lungs?

If you have any of the symptoms of blood clot in lung, you need to visit the nearest emergency department right away. You need to tell the ER doctor about your symptoms and explain why you are worried about a blood clot in your lung. If the ER doctor finds your symptoms concerning for a pulmonary embolism, you will get a CT scan of your chest. The CT scan will tell you right away if you have pulmonary embolism. However, they may have to do some alternative testing if they are unable to do the CT scan due to allergy or other medical problems. In any case, you should not take blood clot in lung symptoms and signs lightly.

Pulmonary embolism treatments

Emergency treatment for pulmonary embolism mainly depends on the severity of the symptoms. Starting CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is the most important initial blood clot in lung treatment when you see someone collapsed on the floor with suspected or confirmed blood clot in lung. If you are able to revive a collapsed person, that person needs a clot busting medication if the diagnosis of blood clot in lung can be confirmed.

Among pulmonary embolism treatments, using clot busting medication is the treatment modality with the highest risks of adverse events. Clot busting medications can cause immediate life threatening hemorrhages. These medications are only used in certain patients who have a very high chance of dying from the blood clot in lung. Patients with blood clot in lung who have a very low blood pressure require clot busting medication to rescue them. Otherwise, their blood circulation may stop and they may collapse.

Surgery is one of the least used pulmonary embolism treatments but it may be needed in a very few specific patients with blood clot in lung. An example would be someone who had a recent brain surgery that collapsed from a blood clot in lung. Normally, clot busting medication would be used in such patient but you can’t use clot busting medication in someone who had recent brain surgery because of the very high risk of brain bleeding.

Long term treatment for blood clot in lung mainly consists of blood thinners. These blood thinners help prevent another clot and stop the blood clot in lung from getting larger.

Blood clot in lung prognosis

Pulmonary embolism prognosis depends on the effect of the clot on the blood circulation and the extent of lung damage after pulmonary embolism. In the short term, people who have complete blockage of blood flow may die instantly. Those who survive may develop high pressure in the pulmonary artery and may have shortness of breath with activity for a long time.

People with blood clot in lung who do not have significant obstruction in the flow of blood from lungs to the right heart do relatively well. That is why it is important to get an echocardiogram of the heart to look at the circulation and the pressure of the blood inside the pulmonary artery. If the pulmonary artery pressure is normal in an individual patient, that patient will likely have a better long term prognosis. However, there are no predictable and accurate indicators for blood clot in lung prognosis so far. More medical research is needed to accurately predict pulmonary embolism prognosis.

Life after pulmonary embolism

Life after pulmonary embolism can be difficult. Symptoms of shortness of breath may persist for a long time. You may feel dizzy or lightheaded when standing. Blood clots in lungs recovery time vary from person to person and depends on many factors including the extent of lung damage after pulmonary embolism. Currently, it is almost impossible to accurately predict blood clots in lungs recovery time in any individual patient. Some patients are able to return to work after pulmonary embolism in just a few weeks while others have significant shortness of breath for months. In some people it may take almost a year to return to normal activities. Pulmonary embolism pain comes and goes in many patients for weeks with unpredictable patterns.

Some people may need oxygen to prevent shortness of breath during recovery from pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism recovery exercise may be appropriate for some patients with blood clot in lung. If you have enough lung capacity to exercise, you need to enroll in a medically supervised pulmonary embolism recovery exercise program.

As you can see, life after pulmonary embolism can be very unpredictable.