The blockage of the pulmonary artery that supplies blood to the lungs is called pulmonary embolism. This condition is among the most common cardiovascular diseases in the US.

A blood clot is the usual cause of the blockage. This prevents oxygen to reach the lung tissues. This is a life-threatening disease.

Embolism is from the Greek work embolos that means plug or stopper.


Sharp, stabbing pain of the chest

Irregular or increased heartbeat


Difficulty/rapid breathing



The aim of treatment is to:

Stop/minimize the clot

Destroy or get rid of the clot

Prevent new clots to be developed

The first measure is the use of oxygen therapy to treat shock. Anticoagulant medicines are given to help in blood thinning and for further clotting to be prevented. Heparin and enoxaparin or warfarin are examples of this medication.

Thrombolytics or clot-busting drugs can also be prescribed. These are Eminase, Retavase, Activase is examples of Thrombolytics.

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