Prevention of Pulmonary Emboli (PE) is an important heath matter of concern to many Americans. Each year, it is estimated that between 300,000 and 600,000 people in the United States will suffer from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). Of that group, around 30 percent will die from their blood clotting events. Controlling blood clots and working hard to prevent pulmonary emboli is a task everyone should be concerned with, for their own health and that of loved ones.
Pulmonary Emboli (PE)
At the core of this sometimes fatal disease are blood clots that can form in the blood, especially in the lower legs or thighs and other areas. These clots can break loose and travel to the heart, lungs, brain and other organs to cause damage and even death. Clots are thickened blood that can clog and disrupt the function of the organ. When they lodge in organs, large clots or groups of clots can reduce the oxygen level to that and other organs, which can result in failure and death.
- Occurrence – Formation of pulmonary emboli is often seen in people who suffer from deep vein thrombosis, another medical condition where blood clots form in deep veins, usually found in the legs. It causes harm when clots dislodge and travel in the bloodstream to harm arteries and organs like the heart or lungs. PE can happen to anyone, but it is more likely to affect persons who are older than age 70, and those who are very inactive or sedentary. Blood clots are frequently seen after surgery, during convalescence, in people who have cancer or heart disease, or when someone takes a long journey with little activity.
- Causes & Risk Factors – This condition is seen in people who have a family history of PE or DVT. It may also occur if a fat particle, tumor section or air bubbles become lodged in organs. Other risk factors include: surgery, pregnancy, obesity, smoking and taking supplemental estrogen.
- Symptoms –Common symptoms that may indicate PE include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing. The cough is productive, usually with bloody or streaked sputum. Legs may feel painful or exhibit swelling, usually in the calf area. The skin may feel clammy or be discolored. Fever, excessive sweating, dizzy spells or feeling lightheaded, and an irregular or rapid heartbeat may also point to pulmonary emboli.
Prevention of Pulmonary Emboli
Once someone or their doctor is aware that prevention of Pulmonary Emboli is needed, there are several options to consider as treatment for this condition. Recognizing and treating this condition is essential and could save your life. About a third of people who are not diagnosed or who remain untreated for PE do not survive. With prompt and proper treatment, survival rates are much better.
Another reason to strive for prevention of pulmonary embolism is that it can lead to other serious conditions, including pulmonary hypertension that can weaken your heart. It is rare, but sometimes a person will develop small emboli frequently, leading to chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Prevention also is the best alternative to doing nothing and dying from this condition.
Preventive treatment usually involves taking anticoagulant medicines, like Warfarin or Heparin. These drugs do not actually thin the blood, but they do help prevent new clots and minimize growth of existing clots. This treatment is preferred over use of inferior vena cava filters (IVC Filters). IVC Filters are inserted into a large groin or neck vein and act like a tiny strainer, catching blood clots that are on the way to major organs like the heart and lungs. Captured clots are then dissolved by naturally occurring anticoagulants in the blood.
People who have experienced pulmonary embolism can expect to have it repeat in the future. This is why it is important to follow doctor instructions carefully and use all possible precautions. Reduce the risks by not sitting for long periods. Get moving after surgery also, and when traveling, drink plenty of fluids that do not contain alcohol or caffeine. Compression stockings can be useful also.
IVC Filters are prescribed when a patient cannot take anticoagulants because they are allergic or react to those drugs, or the drugs do not stop clot formation in that person. Sometimes anticoagulants are also taken when IVC Filters are used. The primary goal is to prevent blood clots from reach critical organs. Usually these treatments are short term; most IVC Filters are retrievable and removed after a short time, 1 to 3 months. In some cases, patients who can tolerate anticoagulants will need to continue that medicine for a lifetime. A more drastic method to eliminate clots is surgical removal of the clot.
Pulmonary Emboli Lawsuits
There are many lawsuits that involve harm and death from issues related to pulmonary emboli and medical treatments. Even when patients can take anticoagulant drugs, they may still have blood clots. Sometimes an IVC Filter is inserted into a large vein to catch clots before they cause damage. These are mostly used on patients who cannot take anticoagulant medications.
Some IVC Filters have failed to protect patients from blood clots or caused internal damage or death to the patient. This has sparked class-action lawsuits in several states, and individual lawsuits. The most prevalent claim is that of negligence by the manufacturer and failure to warn consumers of dangers from the product. People have suffered when IVC Filters have migrated away from the intended location or fractured, releasing thin metal shards to flow in the bloodstream and pierce a vein, the heart, lungs or other organs. Some patients have died due to complications from this treatment.
Although the IVC Filters were a good replacement for the former procedures that involved surgical vein clipping, they were only introduced in 1967. Large lawsuits began in 2012, after the FDA brought the issue to light with their warnings in 2010 and 2014.
Personal Injury Attorney
When you are harmed because a product failed to perform as promised, or a company was negligent and did not warn about product hazards, you need representation from an experienced Personal Injury Attorney. You deserve monetary compensation for the life problems and disruption caused by defective products and negligent behavior. You can recover medical care costs, work losses and other economic damages and non-economic claims for things like pain and suffering, disability, loss of companionship and other damages that do not have a set value. We have helped hundreds of people find justice. Call us today for a free consultation about your concerns related to Pulmonary Emboli and medical care issues.