A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in a lung artery usually caused by a blood clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) that breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lung. Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that can cause permanent damage to the affected lung, low oxygen levels in the blood or damage to other organs from not getting enough oxygen. If a clot is large, or if there are many clots, pulmonary embolism can be fatal.
Half the people who have pulmonary embolism have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they can include shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing up blood. Symptoms of a blood clot include warmth, swelling, pain, tenderness and redness of the leg. The goal of treatment is to break up clots and help keep other clots from forming.