Treatment of acute pulmonary embolism is typically provided in a hospital, where your condition can be closely monitored. The goal of treatment is to primarily prevent the clot from growing and if symptoms are severe remove the clot to prevent shock, cardiac arrest or death. A secondary goal is to to reduce the severity of long-term pulmonary hypertension (shortness of breath, exercise intolerance).

Chest CT 171523640

The standard of care in the management of pulmonary embolism is blood thinners (anticoagulation). Modern minimal invasive techniques can nowadays be offered (in addition to blood thinners) in selected patients with severe symptoms. These techniques involve immediate clot removal (“clot-busters” - thrombolysis). Mechanical cardiopulmonary support and open surgery to physically remove the clot are last resort treatment alternatives when other techniques have failed or are contraindicated.