Blood Clot Diagnosis

What is the rate of death in people who have a PE?

This depends upon age, health, and underlying medical conditions, as well as the cause of the PE.

What fraction of people with a PE have an identifiable DVT?

One-third to two-thirds.

What fraction of people with a DVT get a PE?

The risk varies depending on the location of the clot. The risk for a PE increases the higher up in the leg the DVT occurs. For example, a calf DVT has a lower risk of breaking off and becoming a PE than a clot behind the knee or one in the groin or pelvic veins. Essentially, the larger the vein with the clot, the greater the risk of developing a PE.

What is the relationship between a DVT and a PE?

A DVT is often the source of a clot that travels to the lung arteries and becomes a PE.

How do I know a DVT isn’t simply a pulled muscle?

A pulled calf muscle usually gets better in a day or two. Another sign of a DVT is bluish or reddish skin discoloration, and skin that is warm to touch. These other signs do not usually happen with a pulled muscle. Learn more about DVT diagnosis.

Is it common for a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) to be misdiagnosed as a pulled muscle, pleurisy, anxiety, asthma, etc?

Yes. PE mimics many other diseases and is particularly difficult to diagnose. Learn more about a PE diagnosis.

Why did I get a chest X-ray?

To rule out pneumonia, another common cause of chest pain and breathing difficulty. Learn more about PE diagnosis. 

Is the Ventilation-Perfusion VQ scan the best non-invasive method for detecting a PE?

It is the best current non-invasive technique for detecting a PE. Spiral CT (computed tomography) imaging is a new non-invasive technique being developed and has potential for replacing the VQ scan. Read more about PE diagnosis.

How is a Pulmonary Embolism diagnosed?

If a VQ scan does not identify a clot, but one is still suspected, a pulmonary angiogram is performed. A catheter is threaded through a vein in the groin, passed through the heart, and into the pulmonary artery. Contrast dye is then injected and X-rays are taken to monitor the blood flow in the lung. The angiogram will give a definite diagnosis as to the presence of a clot. Occasionally, an echocardiogram will show abnormalities in heart function, particularly in the right ventricle, as it meets resistance in pumping blood into the lungs. Learn more about PE diagnosis.

How is a Deep Vein Thrombosis diagnosed?

Most often, ultrasound is used to diagnose blood clots in the leg veins. This is a non-invasive test. If the results are not definitive, then venography (an invasive test using contrast dye) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be used. Learn more about DVT diagnosis.

Current News

A NEW PATIENT ASSISTANCE OFFERING FROM JANSSEN

FOR INSURED PATIENTS WHO ARE FACING ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY CHALLENGES New Patient Assistance Offering From Janssen – Quick Reference Guide…

Nationwide 12-month Postpartum Medicaid Coverage Ask to Congress

The National Blood Clot Alliance, alongside 109 other national nonprofits recently asked congress to establish permanent, nationwide 12-month postpartum Medicaid…