Pulmonary Embolism: Signs & Symptoms

by Carlo Raj, MD

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    00:00 What else? Well, the type of symptoms that you're going to find with the thrombotic issue here or emboli would be pleuritic chest pain, often sudden and onset. Ouch. Pleuritic, it hurts. Pleura.

    00:14 There's gonna be cough. Hemoptysis - can be seen usually in a setting of pulmonary infarct.

    00:20 And is there a possibility of pulmonary infarct taking place? Sure. Dyspnea: sudden onset of shortness of breath.

    00:27 This isn't like as a dyspnea or shortness of breath just upon exertion.

    00:33 Bam! Shortness of breath. Tachypnea.

    00:37 Tachycardia. Okay, so there's lots of breathing and doesn't necessarily mean that you've corrected the oxygen with this hyperventilation.

    00:49 Now, think normally, physiologically. Say that you had a panic attack. Okay? Anxiety shall we say. Nothing wrong with your lungs, something in your head that scares you.

    00:59 Okay. Like maybe the boards that's why I'm here, we're gonna walk this together.

    01:03 No panic attack for you. Okay.

    01:05 So now, if you are suffering from anxiety, you're going to be breathing quickly, blowing off your carbon dioxide, your oxygen should be increasing.

    01:11 Clear. But in a state of pulmonary emboli, not necessarily the case.

    01:16 Rapid, shallow breathing. This is variable though, right? Because you can have some patients with rapid breathing.

    01:22 Do you think that they might have a little bit more increased in oxygen saturation? Sure. What does oxygen desaturation mean to you? Pulse ox.

    01:30 It's not invasive, you put this thing, right? This measurement, instrument on your finger and you measure.

    01:37 It's not invasive, this is not ABG.

    01:40 Next, physical examination, extremely nonspecific.

    01:43 Most of the time, you won't even have time.

    01:45 But if there's anything that is given to you, maybe perhaps you're looking for the DVT, the palpable cord in the lower extremity almost as if it's a line or a - the way - the path of your thrombi as it embolizes up through your veins to the right side of the heart.

    02:07 So, think of it that way, a palpable cord in the lower extremity as a source of the embolism.

    02:12 Is that clear? Okay, that's very scary.

    02:15 This type of embolus is called a saddle embolus, death.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Pulmonary Embolism: Signs & Symptoms by Carlo Raj, MD is from the course Disorders of the Pulmonary Circulation and the Respiratory Regulation.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. A palpable cord on the lower extremity
    2. Pallor
    3. Bronchial breath sounds
    4. Tactile fremitus
    5. Breathing through pursed lips
    1. Sudden onset of dyspnea
    2. Pleuritic chest pain
    3. History of surgery 2 years ago
    4. Recent injection of depoprovera for contraception
    5. Association with exercise

    Author of lecture Pulmonary Embolism: Signs & Symptoms

     Carlo Raj, MD

    Carlo Raj, MD

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