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Pulmonary Embolism - Prevention

Daily use of anticoagulant medicines may help prevent recurring pulmonary embolism by stopping new blood clots from forming and stopping existing clots from growing.

The risk of forming another blood clot is highest in the weeks after the first episode of pulmonary embolism. This risk decreases over time. But the risk remains high for months and sometimes years, depending upon what caused the pulmonary embolism. People with recurrent blood clots and/or pulmonary embolism may have to take anticoagulants daily for the rest of their lives. Anticoagulant medicines also are often used for people who are not active due to illness or injury, or people who are having surgery on the legs, hips, belly, or brain.

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Other preventive methods may also be used, such as:

  • Getting you moving shortly after surgery.
  • Wearing compression stockings to help prevent leg deep vein thrombosis if you are at increased risk for this condition.

Take steps to prevent blood clots from travel, such as drinking fluids and walking around every hour. Because of long periods of inactivity, you are at higher risk for blood clots when you are traveling.

If you are already at high risk for pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, talk to your doctor before taking a long flight or car trip. Ask if you need to take any special precautions to prevent blood clots during travel.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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