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How is a pulmonary embolism treated?

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Depending on your symptoms, the doctor may give you a drug called a thrombolytic to dissolve the clot. These medicines can save your life, but they can also cause bleeding that's hard to stop. You'll have to be in the hospital, and the staff will watch you carefully. Some serious cases may require surgery to break up and remove the clot. If your symptoms aren't life-threatening, or if using a thrombolytic would be too dangerous, the doctor will give you medicine to interrupt the clotting process. It won't break down the clot, but it'll keep it from getting bigger while your body works to dissolve it. Afterward, you'll probably take a blood thinner pill for at least three months.

SOURCES:

Medline Plus: "Pulmonary Embolism."

CDC: "Diagnosis of DVT and PE," "Treatments of DVT and PE," "Facts," "Data & Statistics."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Deep Vein Thrombosis."

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "How is Deep Vein Thrombosis Treated?"

Medscape: "Throbolytic Therapy for Pulmonary Embolism."

American Society of Hematology: "Antithrombotic Therapy."

American Heart Association. Circulation, April 26, 2011.

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on January 24, 2020

SOURCES:

Medline Plus: "Pulmonary Embolism."

CDC: "Diagnosis of DVT and PE," "Treatments of DVT and PE," "Facts," "Data & Statistics."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Deep Vein Thrombosis."

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "How is Deep Vein Thrombosis Treated?"

Medscape: "Throbolytic Therapy for Pulmonary Embolism."

American Society of Hematology: "Antithrombotic Therapy."

American Heart Association. Circulation, April 26, 2011.

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on January 24, 2020

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