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Pulmonary Embolism (cont.)

Pulmonary Embolism Follow-up

After a patient is discharged from the hospital, they will be monitored very closely by a doctor. Patients need to stay in close contact with their doctor to monitor their condition and make medication adjustments as necessary.

A blood test called the prothrombin time is monitored. Since each lab reagent can potential differ, the patients blood is compared to the labs test blood. The ratio of the patient test value to the lab test value is called the international normalized ratio or INR. This test looks at the level of blood thinning that the medication is achieving. At first, a patient's blood may be checked every few days or weekly. Once the INR stabilizes in the therapeutic range of 2-3, less frequent checks will occur (perhaps every 2-4 weeks).

Pulmonary Embolism Prevention

The best way to prevent a pulmonary embolism is to avoid the risk factors previously discussed.

A frequent cause of pulmonary embolism is a long car or airplane trips when the blood pools in the legs and forms a blood clot that then breaks loose and travels to the lung.

  • Stop at least every 2 hours on a car trip and stretch the legs and walk.
  • On long airplane flights, get up and walk the aisle at least once an hour to prevent blood clot formation.
  • After surgery, compression units are placed on the legs that function like the leg muscles, to help clot formation. Anitclotting medications are also utilized.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/17/2016

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