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Pulmonary Embolism

Expert Pulmonary Embolism Care

There are two kinds of embolisms, or blood clots in the lungs, that people can develop. One is acute, and the other is chronic. University Hospitals pulmonary specialists have deep expertise diagnosing and treating both.

Acute pulmonary embolisms: Typically, acute blood clots develop in the leg and then break off and travel to the lungs, where blood flow is blocked.

These blood clots can happen for many reasons, including:

  • A long car or airplane ride from sitting for long periods of time
  • After surgery, due to bed rest and lack of mobility
  • Injury to a blood vessel wall
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Family history or previous history of blood clots
  • Obesity
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Cancer and cancer treatment
  • Aging
  • Pregnancy

The lung experts at University Hospitals can identify acute pulmonary embolisms using tests such as chest X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and other lab tests.

Once identified, they can then recommend the best pulmonary embolism treatment option. Most often, an anticoagulant or blood thinner is prescribed and the embolism breaks down over time.

Chronic pulmonary embolisms: Doctors consider blood clots “chronic” when they occur repeatedly. They call this condition chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH).

While extremely rare, it can be fatal unless cured through a complex and unusual surgery called pulmonary endarterectomy. University Hospitals is one of a handful of healthcare centers across the country with the pulmonary surgery t expertise to treat CTEPH using pulmonary endarterectomy.