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Let’s talk about pulmonary embolism

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On World Thrombosis Day, Oct 13th, RapidAI is committed to creating awareness about blood clots and pulmonary embolism.

Every year, an estimated 900,000 people in the U.S. are affected by venous thromboembolism, or the formation of blood clots within the veins. Yet they are often not diagnosed. Blood clots prevent blood from flowing normally in the circulatory system, leading to illness, disability, and even death. 

When a blood clot forms in the veins, the condition is called venous thromboembolism (VTE). There are two categories of VTE: deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).

  • A deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot occurs in a deep vein, such as the lower leg, arms, pelvis, or thighs.
  • Pulmonary embolism occurs when a clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs.

What is pulmonary embolism (PE)?

When a blood clot forms in parts of the body, such as the legs or arms, it can break loose. The clot can travel through the bloodstream to a lung artery, obstructing the blood flow to the lungs and resulting in PE.

About one-third of patients with undiagnosed and untreated PE don't survive. Understanding risk factors and symptoms – and working with your healthcare professional – can help increase proper diagnosis and care. 

PE can:

  • Damage the lungs
  • Reduce oxygen supply to other organs, and affect their ability to function properly
  • Increase heart strain, resulting in increased blood pressure and pulmonary hypertension.

A large PE or blood clots blocking blood flow to the lungs can quickly lead to life-threatening consequences or even death. Timely diagnosis and medical attention become crucial for recovery. 

Be aware of the symptoms of PE

The common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain (worse when taking a deep breath)
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Low blood pressure
  • A feeling of anxiety
  • Coughing up blood
  • Excessive sweating
(Each person may experience symptoms differently, and the symptoms may depend on the size and location of the blood clot.)

Who is at risk of developing PE?

Up to 60% of all VTE cases occur during or within 90 days of hospitalization. The risk of clot formation is especially high if the hospitalization is due to an injury, surgery, or serious illnesses leading to prolonged bed rest.

Medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and inflammatory bowel disease increase the risk of DVT and PE.

Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, hormone therapy with estrogen, family history, and pregnancy. 

Being immobile for long periods due to an illness, a sedentary lifestyle, or traveling on long-distance flights can also increase the risk of blood clots and PE.  

It is possible, however, to ensure a complete recovery with prompt diagnosis and treatment. Be proactive. If you notice any symptoms that concern you, talk to a healthcare professional immediately.

New technology to support PE care

New technological innovations are enhancing patient access to PE care. Since PE is often under or misdiagnosed, artificial intelligence powered technologies like Rapid PE can help physicians better identify patients with PE and streamline care for quicker treatment decisions. 

Rapid PE is an AI-powered platform that automatically notifies PE healthcare team members when a PE is suspected. The platform allows physicians to quickly preview the clot images and blood test results anywhere, anytime via their phones or desktops. The messaging capability allows care teams to communicate efficiently, allowing patients to receive appropriate treatment quickly.  

Blood clots can affect anyone. Know your risks. Be aware of the symptoms. Reach out to your physician when you have any concerns. 

Additional resources 

  1. Understanding Blood Clots | CDC
  2. Stop the clot
  3. World Thrombosis Day

 

 

 

 

RapidAI editorial team

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

RapidAI editorial team

Our editorial team is comprised of RapidAI marketing and clinical research experts.