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Pathophysiology and causes of pulmonary embolism 

Pathophysiology and causes of pulmonary embolism
Pathophysiology and causes of pulmonary embolism

Mervyn Singer

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date: 19 May 2022

Pulmonary embolus is predominantly due to thrombus breaking off from deep veins or from within the right heart, lodging within large or small vessels within the pulmonary vasculature, causing a variable degree of clinical features ranging from asymptomatic through to shock and cardiac arrest. Non-thrombotic causes include air or fat embolism. Outcome is predicated by the degree of right ventricular dysfunction. There are multiple risk factors including surgery, arrhythmias, prolonged immobility, venous stasis, pregnancy and an underlying pro-thrombotic tendency, either congenital or acquired. Numerous risk stratification scores have been developed derived from clinical features, imaging findings and biochemical markers of right ventricular strain and myocardial damage.

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