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If a patient develops a blood clot in the femoral vein of the left lower limb and a portion of the clot breaks loose, where is the blood flow likely to carry the embolus? What symptoms are likely? To add to your thoughts, the blood flow is likely to carry the embolus to the patient’s lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms usually originate in the legs, like in this case. They are caused by a blood clot that has traveled to your lungs.
There are a lot of factors that can determine what kind of symptoms you have with pulmonary embolisms. For example, how much of the patient’s lung is involved in the clot, the size of the clot, and the patient’s overall health — especially the presence or absence of underlying lung disease or heart disease. Some common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain. Shortness of breath is usually the first symptom that occurs and can happen whether you are exercising or just sitting.
Chest pain can also happen when you are just resting, but will also get worse when you are active. This pain may feel like you are having a heart attack. Coughing also occurs, but can produce bloody sputum. Other symptoms include wheezing, weak pulse, rapid and irregular heartbeat, and lightheadedness that could lead to fainting. It is very important that you go the doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms, as this can be life threatening.
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