Pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in a lung artery. Blockage usually is caused by a blood clot that travels to the lung from a vein in the leg. Because pulmonary embolism almost always occurs in conjunction with deep vein thrombosis, most doctors refer to the two conditions together as venous thromboembolism. Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening, but prompt treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death. Pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in a lung artery. Blockage usually is caused by a blood clot that travels to the lung from a vein in the leg.
Fatal PE accounted for 11.9% of all deaths despite unfractionated heparin prophylaxis being used in 44% of these patients. Fatal PE occurred in those who were older (mean age 51- vs 37-yr-old, P=0.01), with more co-morbidities (Charlson's co-morbidity index 1.1 vs 0.2, P=0.01), had a larger BMI (31.8 vs 24.5, P=0.01), and less severe head and systemic injuries when compared with those who died of other causes. Sites of injuries were not significantly related to the risk of fatal PE. Fatal PE occurred much later than deaths from other causes (median 18 vs 2 days, P=0.01), and the estimated attributable mortality of PE was 49% (95% confidence interval 36–62%).