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Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms

Pulmonary embolism symptoms depend on a variety of factors and vary widely from patient to patient. An embolism occurs when a blood clot (usually formed in the lower extremities) breaks free and travels through the vascular system, ultimately obstructing blood flow to the lungs. Therefore, the type and severity of symptoms will depend mostly on the size of the clot and how much of the lung is involved. Other factors include a patient’s preexisting conditions, such as heart and lung disease.

Although there are many pulmonary embolism symptoms, some of the most common include:

  • Shortness of breath that occurs suddenly and worsens with exertion
  • A cough, which may involve bloody mucus
  • Chest pain that may resemble the symptoms of a heart attack and worsen with certain activities, such as breathing deeply, coughing, or bending
  • Pain and/or swelling in the leg
  • Heart palpitations and/or rapid heart rate
  • Excessive sweating

A pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that can result in permanent lung damage or death, especially if not treated quickly. At Tampa General Hospital, we have an experienced team of vascular specialists that utilizes the most advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies. To be referred to a specialist with Tampa General Hospital, please visit our online Physician Finder or call 1-800-822-DOCS (3627).