The pulmonary embolism is the third most common disease of the cardiovascular system. The symptoms are usually nonspecific, and the complaints are often misunderstood. This makes the lung embolism is a potential cause of death.
A blood clot reaches a lung artery, speak to a physician of a pulmonary embolism. Exactly this seems to happen to the popular presenter Stefanie Tücking (56) in the middle of the night. She died in her house in Baden-Baden, the impact of vessel blockage. The insidious death comes without warning. Sign however, there are already and risk factors. A venous insufficiency and Smoking. Stefanie Tücking was a non-Smoker.
A pulmonary embolism occurs always in consequence of a preceding illness, generally of a deep thrombosis in the leg. “From the leg vein thrombosis. a blood clot. The blood stream transports it to the right heart, from where it is in the lungs will be deported,” says Ulrich Hoffmann, head of the Department of angiology at the hospital of the LMU Munich. In rare cases, also air, fat, water or foreign objects have found their way into the vascular system, a pulmonary embolism cause fruit.
Pulmonary embolism restricts the exchange of oxygen
Normally, our body carry oxygen-poor blood through the pulmonary arteries from the heart to the lungs. In the lungs, the arteries branch to form small ramifications, which are becoming finer and closer, and finally, through the lungs, the carbon dioxide bubbles make your blood. In turn, the arteries to take oxygen.
In patients with a pulmonary embolism, one or more of the arteries is clogged by a blood clot. The blood is not enriched with sufficient oxygen, the oxygen exchange is limited. He stops completely, the death of the person Concerned.
Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism
Typical symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Pain when I Inhale
- Coughing up blood
- Pain in the chest
“The diagnosis of pulmonary embolism is difficult,” explains Hoffmann. It is the closure of a small pulmonary artery, it can even remain asymptomatic and undetected. The body’s own mechanisms to help in this case and to solve the clogged clots.
The symptoms are more severe, the greater the of the blood supply to the sealed-off lung section. “Acute pulmonary embolism is life-threatening. The right Heart has to spend significantly more force to pump the blood in the lungs. It comes to right heart failure. Patients with severe, acute pulmonary embolism, collapse of the circulation,” explains Hoffmann.
Tumors increase the risk of a pulmonary embolism
Confinement to bed increases the risk of venous thrombosis and thus pulmonary embolism. Other risk factors are lung disease, pregnancy, coagulation disorders, or cancer. “Tumors activate blood coagulation. With the increase in tumor society diseases in our aging also increases the risk for pulmonary embolism,” says Hoffmann.
Diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism
In cases of suspected pulmonary embolism, the physician will first hear the lungs and heart of the patient, and measures the pulse and blood pressure. The detection of certain blood values confirmed the suspicion of a pulmonary embolism. The reliable diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism provides an imaging of the pulmonary arteries. “The best vessels with a computer tomography. It is the gold standard method for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism,” says Hoffmann.
Treatment of a pulmonary embolism
Important is the immediate treatment with a blood thinner such as Heparin is. “With a severe pulmonary embolism, the blood clot that clogs the pulmonary artery is dissolved, with a thrombolytic. The common drug of such reperfusion therapy in medicine, the fibrinolytic rt-PaA, Hoffmann explains.
Subsequently, the patient must take for at least three to six months of medications that inhibit the blood clotting and the formation of a thrombosis prevent. Here the so-called Vitamin K inhibitor, for example, mark Umar came so far. Today, increasingly, new blood thinners are used which have an improved safety profile by reducing the risk of bleeding.