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Archive for the ‘Medical tests’ Category

Chronic Lung Damage after PE – Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH)

| Diagnosis, Medical tests, Pulmonary embolism | 4 Comments »

Blood clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism, PE) often completely dissolve within a few weeks or months and a patient’s symptoms of shortness and breath and chest pain disappear.  Many people return to their normal self and have no physical limitations thereafter. Other people have some residual symptoms of shortness of breath or chest discomfort, but adjust to it well.  However, in a few patients, clots do not completely dissolve and significant chronic damage to the lung results. Read the rest of this entry »

PFO = Patent Foramen Ovale

| Anatomy, Arterial clots, Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), Diagnosis, Medical tests | 1 Comment »


Some people have a “hole in the heart”, called a “patent foramen ovale” (PFO). This is a connection between the right and the left chamber (atrium) of the heart. We are all born with it – the unborn needs this connection for proper blood circulation. In most people the hole closes in the first few weeks after birth. However, in up to 25 % of people it stays open, equally often in men and women. A PFO usually does not cause symptoms. However, when a person has an acute DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and a clot breaks off and travels with the blood stream, it may cause problems.

DVT and PE in the person without PFO

In the person who does not have a PFO, a clot that breaks off from a DVT travels with the blood stream through the main vein in the abdomen to the chambers of the right side of the heart (color blue in figure 1 and 2). From there, it travels into the lung vessels, where it gets lodged, causing a pulmonary embolism (figure 1).

Figure 1. DVT and PE, no PFO present (graphic design: Jeff Harrison, Wilmington, NC; ©Stephan Moll)

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