Drug Side Effects | Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is a lethal and, unfortunately, common condition usually triggered by a blood clot from another part of the body that has travelled through the bloodstream and into an artery of the lung, consequently blocking it. A blocked lung artery interrupts blood flow and results in abnormal and extreme pressure on the right ventricle of the heart as blood becomes backed up.  In some cases the embolism is not large enough to be fatal, but can still cause lung damage; obstructing blood flow through the pulmonary artery even for a short period of time is serious and can cause damage to the lungs. It can also lead to a host of other health complications.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism

Sharp chest pains are a common symptom of PE.  Symptoms will vary depending on the size of the clot and the individual’s overall health, but most symptoms are nonspecific. Even if this condition is suspected, the patient must undergo diagnostic tests to ascertain the diagnosis or eliminate the possibility of other conditions. In some individuals, bluish and clammy skin can also manifest as a symptom. Leg swelling has also been reported in some cases, and most of the time, the swelling occurs in only one leg. Other symptoms include:

  • Palpitations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough that brings out blood-streaked sputum
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weak pulse
  • Anxiety

Treatment

Because pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening, and often fatal, condition, its prompt treatment is of vital importance. Immediately addressing the condition can prevent other serious health complications or death. One of the most common medications used in the treatment of PE are anticoagulants, which prevent new clots from forming in the blood vessels. It can be injected or taken orally, although, oral coagulants can take days before showing efficacy. This is one reason injected coagulants are preferred over their oral counterparts. The use of thrombolytics or clot dissolvers is also an approved mode of treatment because thrombolytics directly address blood clots and are known to dissolve them quickly.

Drug Side Effects

Yaz pulmonary embolism results from a blood clot caused by the high concentration of estrogen in Yaz or Yasmin birth control pills. Among Yaz side effects, this is considered the most severe due to its life-threatening nature. Clot removal can be simple or may require surgery, depending on how difficult it is to remove the clot and whether blood thinning medications are working or not.