Pulmonary Embolism

What is Pulmonary Embolism (PE)?

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that lodges in the lung arteries. The blood clot forms in the leg, pelvic, or arm veins, then breaks off from the vein wall and travels through the heart into the lung arteries.  Most PEs are due to pelvic and upper leg blood clots that first grow to a large size in the vein before detaching and traveling to the lungs. PE can cause death or chronic shortness of breath from high lung artery pressures (“pulmonary hypertension”). PE can impair heart muscle function, especially the right ventricle, which pumps blood into the lung arteries.