Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism occurs when there is a blockage in a pulmonary artery of the lungs. Most commonly, these blockages are due to blood clots that originate in the legs before breaking free and traveling to the lungs. However, air bubbles, parts of a tumor, and fat from the marrow of a broken bone may also result in an embolism. Blockages of this kind are a serious condition and may cause permanent damage to the lungs or death, especially if not treated promptly.

In the majority of cases, a pulmonary embolism occurs in conjunction with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is the formation of a blood clot in one of the deep veins of the leg. Some of the risk factors that can contribute to the development of DVT include:

  • Prolonged periods of inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • An inherited blood-clotting disorder
  • Injury to the veins
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Advanced age

At Tampa General Hospital, our physicians have extensive experience using innovative methods to diagnose and treat pulmonary embolism and other diseases of the vascular system. We utilize leading-edge technologies and surgical procedures, such as thrombolysis, which involves guiding a catheter through the circulatory system to deliver clot-dissolving drugs, and vena cava filter implantation, which is an umbrella-shaped device implanted in the deep veins of the lower extremities to prevent clots from traveling to the lungs. Our commitment to providing patients with individualized treatment and our comprehensive approach to care offers our patients the greatest likelihood of successful outcomes in the treatment of pulmonary embolism. To be referred to a specialist with Tampa General Hospital, please visit our online Physician Finder or call 1-800-822-DOCS (3627).