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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 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 “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.