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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Pulmonary Embolus: Prevention & Expectations

Pulmonary Embolus

Alternate Names : Lung Embolus

Pulmonary Embolus | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the condition?

Since deep venous thromboses are the major cause of a pulmonary embolus. Measures to prevent DVT will go a long way toward lowering a person's risk of pulmonary embolus. Avoiding long periods of inactivity can reduce the risk of DVT. This is especially important for people who have a history of DVT. For example, it's good to start to walk soon after surgery or an injury.

Although the research is still inconclusive about the effects of airplane trips, people can lower their risk of DVT by:

  • avoiding alcohol or sleeping pills before or during the flight
  • avoiding long periods of sleep during the flight
  • avoiding tight stockings
  • doing exercises in their seat, such as ankle rolls and toe pointing
  • drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
  • getting up and moving about periodically
  • limiting carry-on luggage so they have plenty of leg room
  • obtaining a seat with as much leg room as possible
  • talking with their healthcare providers about taking aspirin for its blood-thinning properties
  • walking around the concourse before and between flights
  • wearing loose, comfortable clothing
  • Blood-thinning medications can help prevent DVT. These include heparin, enoxaparin, and warfarin. Compression stockings can also be used to improve the flow of blood back up to the heart.

    Scuba divers should follow proper procedure and not return to the surface too quickly. Intravenous drug abuse should be avoided.

    What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    A pulmonary embolus can cause permanent lung damage and death. Congestive heart failure, a condition in which a weakened heart cannot pump enough blood through the body, can also occur

    What are the risks to others?

    A pulmonary embolus is not contagious and poses no risk to others.

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    Pulmonary Embolus: Diagnosis & Tests


    Pulmonary Embolus: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 08/06/01

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