When To Call a Doctor
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you think you have symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Symptoms include:
- Sudden shortness of breath.
- Sharp chest pain that sometimes becomes worse with deep breathing or coughing.
- Rapid pulse or palpitations.
- A cough that may produce bloody mucus or blood.
Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of a blood clot in the leg. These symptoms may include:
- Swelling in a leg that may make it noticeably larger than the other leg. Swelling may also appear as a swollen ridge along a blood vessel that you can feel.
- Skin that is red and warm to the touch.
- Pain or tenderness in the calf or thigh. Some people only notice pain when standing or walking.
Blood clots in the deep veins of the leg are the most common cause of pulmonary embolism. For more information on these types of blood clots, see the topic Reference Deep Vein Thrombosis.
If you think you may have pulmonary embolism, call your doctor or go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital. Watchful waiting is not appropriate for pulmonary embolism.
Who to see
Health professionals who can diagnose pulmonary embolism include:
- An Reference emergency room doctor Opens New Window.
- An Reference internal medicine doctor Opens New Window (internist).
- A Reference family medicine doctor Opens New Window.
- A Reference nurse practitioner Opens New Window or Reference physician assistant Opens New Window.
- A Reference pulmonologist Opens New Window.
- A Reference cardiologist Opens New Window.
- A Reference surgeon Opens New Window. This is most often a general surgeon, an orthopedic (bone) surgeon, or a vascular (vein) surgeon.
- An Reference obstetrician Opens New Window (if pulmonary embolism is pregnancy-related).
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Reference Making the Most of Your Appointment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 8, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD - Hematology