All In The Know About Pulmonary Embolism Treatment

Pulmonary embolism is a medical term used to refer to a blood clot that occurs in the lungs. It causes restricted blood flow which progresses into reduced oxygen levels in the blood and other body organs. These clots actually damage the lungs and can be fatal if left untreated.

How Is It Treated?

Pulmonary embolism treatment is usually offered in hospital after diagnosis. According to doctors, the chances of surviving permanent lung damage are increased if pulmonary embolism is treated early. During treatment, you will be required to stay in the hospital as your condition gets closely monitored.

The length of your medical care procedure will depend on the size and location of the blood clot. Multiple treatment options have been proven effective to treat pulmonary embolism. Again, depending on the size of the clot and the severity of the pulmonary embolism condition, the treatment procedure may be complicated. Also, the doctor may prescribe medication to dissolve the clot. Let’s have a look at them.

Anticoagulant medications

Also known as blood thinners. Anticoagulants inhibit the blood coagulation process and manipulate the formation of thrombus. In layman’s language these drugs reduce the blood’s ability to clot by thinning the blood. They also prevent the occurrence of blood clots in the future after treatment.

Your doctor may prescribe either:

  • Heparin- comes in liquid form and injected directly into the vein.
  • Warfarin- it is taken orally in the form of a tablet.
  • Fondaparinux- it is injected and directed under the skin, once a day.
  • Low molecular-weight heparin- normally prescribed to patients taking the medication at home. The drug can be injected beneath the skin once or twice a day depending on the clot size.

The main side effects associated with blood thinners, is internal bleeding once the blood thins too much. It is therefore essential to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully and understand precisely how to take the medication.

Compression stockings

They can be referred to as a support hose. These stockings are often available in knee-high length. They aid in consistent blood flow in the legs preventing blood from being pooled. Your doctor will diagnose your condition and see if you are the right candidate for compression socks. You will be directed by the doctor on how long you will use them and how to handle them.

Surgery

As earlier mentioned, pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening condition. If all other treatments fail, your doctor may recommend going under the scalpel. The surgical procedure should remove the embolus from the blood system. Also, the doctor may suggest an inter-ventional procedure where a filter is placed inside the vena cava (largest vein). The filter should capture all clots before entering the lungs. This usually is the last solution.

Thrombolytic therapy

It is a rare treatment option that is normally set aside for patients with special cases. Such cases may include low blood pressure or any other chronic conditions that put the patient’s life on the line, coupled with pulmonary embolism. During thrombolytic therapy, the patient is put under clot busters (thrombolytic medications) that will eat up the clot. However, they will be put under close monitoring to keep watch of how the medication is working.

Even after medication, clots may reoccur. It is therefore advisable to keep scheduling visits to the doctor for follow up and for further investigations to identify the reason for the clot. This piece sums all there is to pulmonary embolism treatment.

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