What is pulmonary embolism (PE)?

PE – or pulmonary embolism – is when blood clot in a deep vein thrombosis or DVT breaks off and travels through the bloodstream. The moving clot is called an embolus and it can travel to an artery in the lungs and block blood flow. A PE can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of a PE (Pulmonary Embolism or blood clot in the lung):
  • Unexplained sudden onset of shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath, cough or even lie down
  • Feeling light headed or dizzy, or fainting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Sweating
  • Coughing up blood
  • A sense of anxiety, nervousness or impending doom (feeling like you might die)

PE is life-threatening, seek emergency medical care immediately or call 9-1-1.

A blood clot that occurs in one or more deep veins of the body (DVT) and travels to the lungs (PE) creates a condition recognized as VTE.