What is pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary embolism is a condition caused by a thrombus formation that originates somewhere in the venous system that detaches and lodges at the branch of pulmonary artery. It is not a disease in and of itself. Rather, it is a complication of underlying venous thrombosis (Ouellette, 2014). If left untreated, about 30 percent of patients who have PE will die. Most of those who die do so within the first few hours of the event (NIH, 2011).
- Prolonged immobilization
- Prolonged periods of sitting and standing
- Varicose veins
- Vascular disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Diabetes mellitus
- Advanced age
- Oral Contraceptive Use
- Dyspnea – accompanied by angina and plueritic pain; exacerbated by inspiration
- Chest pain
- Distended neck veins
- Shallow respirations
Laboratory and Diagnostic Findings
- Chest X-ray- infiltrates, atlectasis, and elevation of the diaphragm; nonspecific
- Arterial blood gas- hypoxemia and hypocapnia
- ECG changes- sinus tachycardia, PR-interval depression and non-specific T-wave changes
- Pulmonary angiography- arterial obstruction and perfusion deficit
- Duplex ultrasonography- noninvasive diagnosis of pulmonary embolism by demonstrating the presence of a DVT at any site
- MRI- pulmonary emboli demonstrate increased signal intensity within the pulmonary artery
Pulmonary Embolism Nursing Care Plan
- Anderson, F. & Audet, A.M. (2010). Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary
- Embolism: A Practical Guide to Evaluation and Improvement. Retrieved from www.outcomes-umassmed.org.
- Black, J., & Hawks, J. (2009). Medical-surgical nursing: clinical management for positive outcomes (8thed.).St. Louis, Mo.: Saunders/Elsevier Inc.
- Doenges, M.E., Moorhouse, M.F., and Murr, A.C. (2010). Nurse’s Pocket Guide.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: F.A. Davis Company
- Silvestri, L. A.(2005). Saunders Comprehensive review for the NCLEX-RN Examination.
- St. Louis, Mo.: Saunders/Elsevier Inc.
- Smeltzer, S., Bare, B., Hinkle, J. Cheever, K. (2010). Brunner & Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical Surgical Nursing.Wolter Kluwer Health/ Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.