Far more people die every year from a pulmonary embolism than you think.

These blood clots in the lungs may cause cardiac arrest, and often, the cause of death is listed as just that—cardiac arrest.

When a person dies, their heart stops.

When a person’s heart stops, they die (when they can’t be resuscitated, of course).

But what causes cardiac arrest?

In many cases, it’s a pulmonary embolism — a most unrecognized lethal medical condition.

“Yes, it is often an unrecognized killer, frequently because the picture may be dominated by coexisting conditions such as those that are associated with slowing of blood flow to many parts of the body, especially the veins of the lower extremities,” says Morton Tavel, MD, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, and author of “Health Tips, Myths and Tricks: A Physician’s Advice.”

Dr. Tavel continues, “The variety of predisposing conditions can include debilitating diseases forcing prolonged bed rest, post-surgical states and congestive heart failure.”

A pulmonary embolism originates from a blood clot in a vein (usually in the lower leg, but it can also be behind the knee, the upper leg or pelvic area).

The Centers for Disease Control provides frightening statistics:

Every year in the U.S., 60,000 to 100,000 people die from a P.E.

In about one-fourth of all cases, sudden death is the first symptom.

Below is very helpful information that will answer a lot of your questions — even highly specific questions — about this underrated killer.





Dr. Tavel’s medical research includes over 125 publications, editorials and book reviews in peer-reviewed national medical journals. He was formerly director of the cardiac rehabilitation program at St. Vincent Hospital in Indiana. mortontavel.com
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
Top image: Shutterstock/Motortion Films
Source: cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/data.html