What is a Pulmonary Embolism?
A pulmonary embolism is a condition that causes a branch (or the main artery) of the lung to become blocked. This is usually the result of a clot or other substance that has broken off and traveled through the blood stream to become lodged in the lungs. The main reason behind pulmonary embolisms is a clot that forms in the deep veins of the lower extremities known as a deep vein thrombosis. Less common reasons for embolisms have been attributed to amniotic fluid, air, or fat.
When the blood flow to the lungs becomes obstructed, pressure builds on the right ventricle of the heart, which leads to indications and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism. The risk of developing an embolism increases with certain situations such as prolonged periods of bed rest, or because of a medical condition such as cancer.
Some of the most common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, and pain in the chest upon inspiration. A doctor can further determine if an embolism is present by looking for a rapid heart rate, low oxygen levels in the blood, rapid breathing, and cyanosis. Other more severe symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include very low blood pressure, lung collapse, and unexpected death. It is often at this time that doctors consider using an inferior vena cava filter, also known as an IVC filter.
As previously stated, the most common reason behind the formation of pulmonary embolisms is because of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or thromboses that occur in the veins of the pelvic region. Roughly fifteen percent of all venous clots dislodge and migrate to the lungs during circulation resulting in an embolism.
If you or someone you know has received a Bard IVC filter due to the risk of a pulmonary embolism, and you have questions — it is important that you discuss your case with a lawyer, as you may have grounds for legal action. It is always recommended that you contact an IVC filter lawyer, in order to determine the viability of your case, your best course of action, and to gain a full understanding of your legal rights.
Here is a great video showing how a pulmonary embolism travels to the heart and/or lungs: