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Transcript
Contact: Kristi Bruno, [email protected], 773/750-9962
Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Fact Sheet and Expert
Quotes
From the American College of Chest Physicians, publisher of Antithrombotic Therapy and
Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based
Clinical Practice Guidelines
Facts
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DVT and PE affect around one-half million Americans each year, with at least 100,000
deaths annually. Most clots occur in people who have other illnesses or who are
recovering from surgery or a serious accident.
A DVT is a deep vein thrombosis. The word thrombosis means clot. A DVT is a blood
clot that forms in a vein deep inside the body, usually the leg. These blood clots can
break loose and travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolization), blocking the flow of
blood and oxygen.
A PE is a potentially life-threatening event. Symptoms of a PE include: difficulty
breathing, sharp chest pain that worsens after taking deep breaths, coughing up blood,
light-headedness, rapid heart rate, unconsciousness, and sudden death.
Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial. When diagnosed, anticoagulants (blood
thinners) are usually given to prevent more clotting, allowing the embolism to gradually
resolve. In very severe cases, medications can be given to dissolve clot-blocking major
vessels.
Additional resources on PE and DVT can be found on the CHEST Foundation website. CHEST
Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.
Expert Quotes
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“Prompt medical care is needed in suspected cases of pulmonary embolism. Signs and
symptoms of pulmonary embolism can include difficulty breathing, sharp chest pain
that worsens after taking deep breaths, coughing up blood, light-headedness, and
fainting. DVT and PE contribute to more than 100,000 deaths in the United States each
year,” said Mark Rosen, MD, Master FCCP, and Medical Director of the American College
of Chest Physicians.
"Clots are formed by proteins and cell fragments in the blood, usually in response to
tissue injury. While most blood clots serve a helpful purpose to limit bleeding, they can
cause problems when they block the flow of blood, and therefore oxygen, to critical
organs. Most of the damaging clots form in the veins of the legs where they may be
“silent.” However, when dislodged, they travel to the lung where they can block the
flow of blood to the lungs, possibly resulting in serious damage. Sometimes clots can
travel to other organs like the brain, resulting in stroke, or to the heart, resulting in a
heart attack,” said David Gutterman, MD, FCCP, Past President of the American College
of Chest Physicians, Executive Committee member of Antithrombotic Therapy and
Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-
Contact: Kristi Bruno, [email protected], 773/750-9962
Based Clinical Practice Guidelines, and Senior Associate Director, Cardiovascular Center
Northwest Mutual Professor in Cardiology at Medical College of Wisconsin.
American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), publisher of the journal CHEST, is the
global leader in advancing best patient outcomes through innovative chest medicine
education, clinical research, and team-based care. Its mission is to champion the prevention,
diagnosis, and treatment of chest diseases through education, communication, and research.
It serves as an essential connection to clinical knowledge and resources for its 18,700
members from around the world who provide patient care in pulmonary, critical care, and
sleep medicine. For more information about CHEST, visit chestnet.org.