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Acute pulmonary embolism (PE) is a life-threatening condition in which a blood clot (or multiple clots) blocks one or more of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. This blockage prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching the lungs, resulting in decreased oxygen levels in the body. Symptoms of acute PE can include chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and lightheadedness. If left untreated, acute PE can lead to shock, cardiac arrest, and even death. Treatment for acute PE typically involves anticoagulant medications to prevent further clotting, and in some cases, clot-dissolving medications or surgery to remove the clot.
All of the following must be considered when interpreting clinical findings and are too extensive to be covered on this site: