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Updated on April 15, 2013


Not long ago I was present as my 90 year old father in law suffered what turned out to be a Pulmonary Embolism. Quite clearly he was in great distress and all that was to be done was to summon the Ambulance. Quite quickly and thankfully, the Paramedics arrived, tested him and rushed him to Hospital, where the diagnosis was confirmed and treatment commenced.

The old boy, as he does regularly with all types of medical problems, came through this scare and is still with us, and on measures desined to prevent further similar problems taking place. So, what is a PULMONARY EMBOLISM exactly? Most of us are aware of the condition and have some sort of idea, however hazy as to what it is and what causes it. Thus, to clarify the matter, here is the official version.

Pulmonary Embolism is the technical term for a blood clot on the lungs. Many associate them with heart attacks but they actuallyand initially, affect the lungs.The problem begins when the normally unclotted blood coursing normally round the body forms a clot, usually in leg or pelvis..

When clotting occurs , the formed clot may remain in the part of the body where it was formed. However, often they dislodge and then flow on to become stuck in the main artery of the lung.The result of this is to put pressure on the lungs. As pressure increases, not only the lung is affected but also the heart . The sufferer begins to find breathng difficult and experiences pain in the chest with palpitations. These were clearly visible when my father in law had his PE.

The visible symptoms trigger the need for swift action on the part of an observor as PE can quite often herald sudden death. Rapid response from the medics can assist in avoiding this on occasions but the patient , if surviving, needs preventative treatment to avoid further clotting taking place with like results.


For many years now treatment has been based on blood thinning injections of drugs like Warferin and Heparin. Warferin is best known as an effective Rat poison to underline the severity of the drug. Both my father inlaw and my brother inlaw have this treatment for their conditions, the latter suffers from heart problems, whilst the old man has also been diagnosed as having had both a small heart attack and stroke earlier than his PE..

The treatments above require regular blood tests to guage the drug levels required for each patient but now a new treatment has been discovered that simplifies the process without affecting the efficay of the treatment.

Removing the need for injections and regular blood tests, RIVAROXABAN, the trail blazer for a new level of treatments for PE is administerd in pill form and is initially prescribed for a whole year before further assessment is required. This form of treatment is already available in Scotland where PE problems have been historically heavy, and is expected to be adopted by the NHS in England shortly.

The simplicity of taking a pill and removing the need for injections and blood tests regularly will be a welcome advance for sufferers, who nevertheless, should still pay proper attention to diet and regular execise to insure against further ,life threatening, Pulmonary Embolisms.


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