Pulmonary Embolism and Deep Vein Thrombosis Information
Vascular specialists at the Wake Forest Heart & Vascular
Center provide superior care to help manage deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary
embolism, serious conditions involving blood clots.
New patients may request an appointment online to discuss pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis treatment with our team.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) happens when a blood clot
forms in a deep vein, usually in a calf or thigh muscle. DVT can cause moderate
to life-threatening problems when a clot:
- Partly or completely blocks blood flow in
your legs, causing chronic pain and swelling.
- Damages valves in blood vessels, making it
difficult for you to move.
- Breaks free and travels through your bloodstream
to your heart or lungs (known as pulmonary embolism). There, a clot can cause
damage and even death within hours.
What is a Pulmonary Embolism?
A pulmonary embolism is a sudden
blockage (usually a blood clot) in a lung artery and is most often a complication
of deep vein thrombosis. A pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that can:
- Damage part of your lung because of a lack of
- Cause low oxygen levels in your blood
- Damage other organs in your body because of a
lack of oxygen
- Lead to death if a blood clot is large or
there are many clots
Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism
Only about half of the people who have DVT have signs and
symptoms. These symptoms may affect one or both legs:
- Swelling in the legs or along a vein in the
- Pain or tenderness in the legs when standing
- Warm feeling in the area of the leg that's
swollen or painful
- Red or discolored skin on the affected leg
You may not realize that you have a deep vein clot until you have
signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Its symptoms include:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Sharp chest pain that may become worse with deep
breathing or coughing
- Coughing up blood
- Rapid heart rate or breathing
- Heart palpitations
- Signs of shock
Diagnosing Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism
Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism can be difficult to
diagnose because their symptoms are similar to other conditions, including heart attack, pneumonia,
panic attacks and others. Our team uses a range of advanced diagnostic tools to
rule out other problems and confirm a diagnosis.
Common tests for pulmonary embolism
- Blood tests
CT, MRI and echocardiogram
- Chest X-ray
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
ventilation/perfusion scan to determine how well blood and oxygen are flowing
through your lungs
Common tests for deep vein thrombosis
Learn more about heart and
at Wake Forest.
Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism Treatment at Wake
Our goal is to prevent blood clots from growing, affecting other
organs (as in a pulmonary embolism) or recurring. In many cases, we will
prescribe anticoagulants – medications that work as blood thinners. If you have
a pulmonary embolism, may also prescribe clot-busting drugs called
In some cases, we may recommend a procedure to treat your clots. Learn
more about endovascular
an evaluation or treatment appointment online. Or, for more
information, please call:
- 336-716-WAKE or