Pulmonary embolism - therapy and course

What therapy for pulmonary embolism is there?

A pulmonary embolism must always be treated in the hospital. First step in the treatment of pulmonary embolism: The patient must first comply with bed rest. As a basic measure of therapy, the doctor administered painkillers and sedatives as well as oxygen, possibly also circulatory stabilizing substances.

Treatment with drugs

He injects heparin - a drug that prevents the clot from growing and passes it on for several days as an infusion. In parallel, a pulmonary embolism therapy with anticoagulant tablets is started, which - depending on the risk factors - must be taken for six to twelve months or even for life.

Treatment by mechanical intervention

Smaller clots can dissolve the body itself, with larger may need to be helped artificially. For this purpose either medicated infusions (so-called fibrinolytics) are available or the blocked vessel is made through again with an inserted catheter.

In rare, severe cases of pulmonary embolism, the attempt to surgically remove the clot remains surgical.

What is the course of a pulmonary embolism?

Pulmonary embolism is a dangerous disease - even with timely diagnosis and therapy, the mortality rate is still up to ten percent. Especially in the first two hours, the risk of death is very large. If the affected person survives, the body's own system can usually break down the blood clots within one month and no damage is left behind.

In about one third of the patients, however, it comes to a recurrence, ie to renewed venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. Therefore, as described above, preventive medication must be taken.

Measures to prevent pulmonary embolism

In certain cases, you can also bring into the portal vein a wire mesh (Kava umbrella), which is designed to catch the clots in the bloodstream before they reach the lungs.

In many cases it is advisable to wear compression stockings regularly, which should be prescribed by the doctor and adjusted exactly.

Before long flights (especially for more than six hours), you should discuss with the family doctor whether a preventive dose of heparin, for example, makes sense. In addition, the person concerned should drink enough liquid (no alcohol!) And move his legs and feet a lot. Appropriate gymnastic exercises can also show the family doctor.

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