Pulmonary embolism: literature review


 Ligita Pilkytė1, Gustė Burneikaitė1, Justina Ragauskaitė1

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas, Lietuva



Pulmonary embolism is a disease when the pulmonary arteries are blocked by emboli. Emboli often comes from the deep veins of the lower limbs although, there can be other causes, such as atrial fibrillation and stasis-shaped emboli in the heart. Pulmonary embolism is one of the most common complications and causes of death in hospitalized patients, hence, it is essential to diagnose in time and to treat appropriate. Symptoms of the disease are deceptive, thus, it is always necessary to consider the possibility of pulmonary embolism when recognizing a patient who suddenly has difficulty breathing, hypoxia or other similar symptoms identified in the Emergency or other department. Pulmonary embolism is more common in patients with co-morbid conditions or those who are unable to move. The diagnosis of pulmonary embolism has been significantly improving recently: new methods are being found, when the old ones are included in algorithms, which are easy to use and prevent undiagnosed cases. There are various treatment options – usually conservative anticoagulant or systemic thrombolysis, even though, there is a fairly wide range of invasive therapies (from catheter thrombus fragmentation to surgical procedures), The main goal of pulmonary embolism treatment is to stop further thrombus formation and prevent from repeated event. Prevention of recurrent pulmonary embolism is important during future surgical interventions, on long trips and other occasions. This literature analysis reviews the etiology, pathogenesis, diagnostic principles, treatments, and prevention of the disease.

Keywords: pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, triad of Virchov, anticoagulants.