Table of Contents

Signs of Pulmonary Embolism- Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms

Just by hearing the name pulmonary embolism, you might think it is not something nice. It is in fact among the deadliest health conditions in medicine, and it is accountable for no less than one-third of those who stay undiagnosed. A pulmonary embolism is an outright emergency situation, and you can not delay getting medical assistance.

In simple words, pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that blocks the blood vessels in the lungs. There’s limited blood circulation, the same that triggers a cardiovascular disease, and there’s a matching sense of pain right in your chest. The signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism might seem a bit similar from those we discover in a heart attack, but looking a bit much deeper they are completely various. In all cases, the identify and corresponding management needs to be carried out in an emergency room by a qualified doctor. In this article, you will understand the alarming symptoms and signs of a pulmonary embolism so you can look for medical assistance right away.

1-Chest discomfort

The chest discomfort in pulmonary embolism is especially extreme, and may appear similar to a cardiovascular disease. The embolism that’s accountable for the pulmonary embolism lodges in the blood vessels that irrigate the lungs, causing an intense pleuritis, which is the swelling of the outside lining of the lungs. This swelling activates the activation of several nerve terminals situated in the pleura and causes severe chest pain.

This kind of discomfort has a really abrupt start and occurs with the rest of the signs without any previous advice. One of the ways to separate chest discomfort from a pulmonary embolism from that of a heart attack is by paying attention to the rest of the signs, particularly the shortness of breath and indications of hypoxia. Other signs and symptoms are to be identified by an expert in a medical setting.

Due to the fact that it is strongly related with your breathing, you can also determine the chest pain from pulmonary embolism. It is a stabbing pain that aggravates every time you take in. In some cases, the chest discomfort may reach your jaw, shoulder or arm, which resembles a cardiac arrest, and only lab examinations could make a contrast.

2-Shortness of breath

Pulmonary Embolism is an issue related to the lungs and the respiratory function. It is an embolism that does not allow a complete location in your lungs to be fed by nutrients and oxygenated blood. Even if your lungs are the main receptacle of oxygen, there are tissues away from the reach of the pulmonary alveoli that would need an external source of oxygenated blood to endure.

When there’s not enough oxygen in the pulmonary tissue, the breathing function begins to become deficient, your oxygen levels start to drop, and your brain analyzes that as if you were not breathing deep enough. That’s why individuals with pulmonary embolism feel shortness of breath, an urge to take a deep breath instead of routine respiration. Nevertheless, since chest discomfort is aggravated after breathing in, the breathing pain boosts, and clients report they discover it challenging to breathe.

As a result, you would see a patient with pulmonary embolism with fast and brief breathing, attempting to breathe more while preventing to intensify their chest pain while breathing in. Since there will be a continuous exchange of CO2 and oxygen that would trigger modifications in the acidity of the blood, this fast breathing would cause pH problems in the long term.

3-Bluish colour of the skin

As we mentioned previously, pulmonary embolism causes an alteration in the exchange of oxygen and CO2. There will be an impaired oxygenation of the blood due to the fact that the lungs are straight affected by the blood embolism and the reduction of nutrients to the tissue.

Oxygenated blood runs through the arteries, which are typically pictured as red. Deoxygenated blood goes through the veins, which are often depicted as blue. These differences are only made for educational reasons, however in practice, there’s a various colour between oxygenated and deoxygenated blood Your blood has iron, and when this element touches with oxygen it will reveal a reddish color, however the colour turns darker when there’s no oxygen around.

That’s why people with a pulmonary embolism get a bluish colour in their skin. Their blood is not carrying enough oxygen and begins altering colours. This can be determined by blood tests when it is not visible from the outdoors, but the normal patient with a pulmonary embolism would get in the emergency room with cyanosis (which is the scientific name of this pigmentation of the skin), shortness of breath, and chest pain.

4-Coughing and spitting up blood.

The signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism may vary from someone to another. Some people might not have the normal abrupt onset with severe chest discomfort but may begin with basic respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath that exacerbates gradually as the time goes by. Spending blood is not the most typical sign in pulmonary embolism, It’s an atypical symptom instead, however it is an alarming sign that should encourage for urgent medical attention.

This indication is called hemoptysis, and it took place when the capillary of the lungs burst and the blood that flows through them would hand down the breathing tract. It is a really immediate indication that needs immediate medical examination, even if it’s not accompanied by chest discomfort or any other sign.

The major part of the cases we won’t see any blood, just efficient coughing of transparent mucus, which is triggered since there’s fluid in the lungs, also called pulmonary edema, which leakages from the blood vessels impacted by the embolisms.

5-Anxiety and agitation

After the severe chest discomfort, the shortness of breath that aggravates when breathing in, and having patients coughing up blood, it is common to see anxiety and agitation as another indication that mentions pulmonary embolism.

Not all cases can be measured by the very same requirements, and sometimes having slowly progressive shortness of breath without any other cause is enough to think a pulmonary embolism, whether or not patients feel nervous about it. Anxiety and agitation are the results of the rest of the symptoms, and they are not brought on by the condition itself.


Another symptom that is typically reported in clients with pulmonary embolism is lightheadedness. Patients may feel muscular weakness, problem in concentrating, lightheadedness and exhaustion. These signs are mainly brought on by an absence of oxygen that begins affecting the main nervous system. These symptoms are more typical in patients with an underlying health issue, primarily concerning the respiratory system or the central nervous system. It is likely to appear in any client with or without these particular antecedents.

Lightheadedness is not a primary symptom of pulmonary embolism, and we should look for another explanation if there is no breathing symptom or chest discomfort. Keep in mind that most of the accompanying signs of a pulmonary embolism are the result of an impaired respiratory function, which must work as a guide for the medical diagnosis.


Sometimes, the decrease in the readily available oxygen for the brain is severe enough to trigger fainting and other alterations of the awareness. This normally happens in the elderly and patients with a hidden issue, as we discussed previously.

In many cases, extra neurological symptoms might appear, such as seizures and delirium. All of these signs and symptoms are highly related to an absence of oxygen in the nerve system, which generally explains that the pulmonary embolism has actually been prolonged for too long. In these cases, it is vital to remain calm, manage the symptoms of the patient when it comes to delirium or seizures, and call for urgent medical attention while doing so. Most of the neurological problems associated with pulmonary embolism cause no irreversible damage, however they may signify a prolonged condition that would probably trigger permanent damage to the lung tissue.

8-Weak pulse

Clients with a pulmonary embolism will have an impaired heart function. Often it is extreme enough to cause a hemodynamic collapse, but in many cases, it is just a weak pulse as a result of the low levels of circulating oxygen. The heart noises are attenuated in over half of the patients, and their pulse is also feeble since their heart is pumping with less intensity.

Sometimes, there are additional cardiovascular symptoms and signs when analyzing the heart. There’s an abnormal sound called S3 or S4 gallop, and patients might have heart whisperings too.

9-Accelerated pulse

Tachycardia is the scientific name for a sped up pulse, and it is a heart rate of 100 or more beats in one minute at rest. Practically half clients with a pulmonary embolism have tachycardia, and it is the result of the weak pulse. Trying to balance the cardiovascular function, the heart tries to compensate not beating hard enough with a sped up pulse so that oxygenated blood can reach the rest of the body.

The effect is further increased by the main nerve system, which discovers a lower level of oxygen and begins sending signals to the heart forcing it to double its pumping work. When sustained for adequate time, this might cause a hemodynamic collapse, which is among the reasons we need to search for urgent medical attention when presuming pulmonary embolism.


It is the medical name offered to the condition in which the heart has an irregular rhythm or no rhythm at all. An arrhythmia might be brought on by a number of reasons, and one of them is a sped up heartbeat. When clients prone to an arrhythmia have a pulmonary embolism, it is very likely that their heartbeat starts to increase and this, in turn, affects the typical rhythm of the heart.

There are lots of types and subtypes of arrhythmia, and the one that affects patients with a pulmonary embolism depends on the stability of the electrical system of the heart. Pulmonary embolism, in general, would increase the heart activity, particularly on the ideal side of the heart, which typically sets off an arrhythmia in this area, and often atrial fibrillation.

In some cases, in the event of atrial fibrillation, it is hard to identify which one preceded, because atrial fibrillation is a totally abnormal movement of the heart that often triggers many clots inside the heart. These clots could travel through the pulmonary artery to reach the lungs and trigger a pulmonary embolism.

Note that 10% of pulmonary embolisms are fatal throughout the first hour, which is one of the reasons you should act rapidly and without hesitation searching for urgent medical assistance if you think pulmonary embolism by encountering the symptoms we described above. Keep in mind the most essential symptoms are respiratory symptoms and those connected with impaired oxygenation, and not every patient would show upsetting signs with a sudden onset.

When a doctor is thinking a pulmonary embolism, he would purchase a number of lab tests such as a white blood cell count, troponin levels, blood oxygen and CO2 levels. When it is currently confirmed, they ought to check for your coagulation levels and may require extra imaging studies to discover the extension of the damage. This need to be carried out easily since a high number of clients would not endure the very first hours. Therefore, do not delay looking for medical attention if you suspect a pulmonary embolism, specifically if you have a hidden issue in your blood clot.

In simple words, pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that obstructs the blood vessels in the lungs. The blood clot that’s accountable for the pulmonary embolism lodges in the blood vessels that water the lungs, causing an acute pleuritis, which is the swelling of the outdoors lining of the lungs. Coughing up blood is not the most common sign in pulmonary embolism, It’s an irregular symptom instead, however it is an alarming sign that ought to encourage for immediate medical attention.

When a physician is thinking a pulmonary embolism, he would buy a number of lab tests such as a white blood cell count, troponin levels, blood oxygen and CO2 levels. Hence, do not delay looking for medical attention if you presume a pulmonary embolism, specifically if you have a hidden issue in your blood clotting.