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Lifesaving Treatment for Pulmonary Embolism


Pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot blocks oxygen-rich blood flow in one of the major arteries of the lungs. It is a medical emergency that can cause permanent damage to the lungs or other organs due to lack of oxygen. Pulmonary embolism can cause death in severe cases. 

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect a pulmonary embolism is happening to you or someone near you. 

Dignity Health offers quick, efficient emergency treatment, 24/7, for pulmonary embolism in the Bay Area.

Causes of Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism is almost always a complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in one of the body’s deep veins. Deep vein thrombosis usually occurs in the legs. Risk factors for developing deep vein thrombosis include: 

  • Being sedentary or bedridden 
  • Chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease or cancer
  • Having surgery
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include leg swelling, pain, warmth, and redness or discoloration. See a Dignity Health doctor immediately for signs of deep vein thrombosis to reduce your risk of developing a pulmonary embolism.

Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms

Around half of those with pulmonary embolism don’t have symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they tend to start suddenly and include:

Pulmonary Embolism Treatment in the Bay Area

In life-threatening situations, the goal of pulmonary embolism treatment is to destroy the clot. Clot-busting medication (thrombolytics) can break apart clots quickly. However, they can also cause sudden bleeding, so they are only used in emergencies. Sometimes a catheter-based procedure or surgery is required to remove the clot. 

In less severe cases, treatment aims to stop the clot from getting bigger and prevent new clots from forming. Blood thinners (anticoagulants) may help the clot dissolve over time. 

Look to Dignity Health’s Bay Area hospitals to provide personalized care — whether or not you’re in an emergency situation. Complete care for your entire well-being is our priority.

Dignity Health provides emergency treatment for pulmonary embolism in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.