What to Expect During Pulmonary Embolism Recovery

Radiologic studies of pulmonary embolisms

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Recovering from a pulmonary embolism: the beginning of a long road

Recovery from a pulmonary embolism often begins in an emergency room or an emergency squad.  It begins when the patient has a diagnosis of pulmonary embolism and is given blood thinners to stop new clots from forming.  If the patient enters under extreme duress it can be a very scary start to recovery.  If the patient finally has an answer to mysterious symptoms the diagnosis may be a relief.  With treatment the body can be given a chance to heal from pulmonary embolism without the threat of new clots.

July 18, 2008 I found myself in the emergency room of an area hospital. This was only the second time in my entire life that I was a patient in an ER. I knew though that I needed to be there and that the doctors and information that the ER had would likely save my life. It turned out that I had a very fatal condition known as a pulmonary embolism. What I didn't know was that the ER and the hospital stay were the easy parts of my diagnosis. I had always thought that hospital stays would be miserable and that going home would be a relief. While I was glad to get home, the months following have been strenuous.

While in the hospital I researched my diagnosis. I quickly found a lot of information about pulmonary embolisms. Page after page contained symptoms of a PE, the dangers of embolisms, and the treatments that were available. Other than treatment information very little information covered recovery. I did not know what to expect after my pulmonary embolism. I did not know how long recovery would take or how recovery would alter my life.

Very general information about recovery

  • Everyone will find their recovery to be unique. Like many disorders and diseases pulmonary embolisms can be of differing severities. There are people who return to work in a few days as well as people who die. It is a huge spectrum!
  • There are a lot of ups and downs. Symptoms of the embolism will come and go for a long time after the embolism is found and treatment is initiated. It is not uncommon for someone to go 3 months without any problems and then find themselves with pain or shortness of breath again.
  • The symptoms that helped diagnose the embolism are some of the same things that will be experiences after the diagnosis of the embolism.
  • Symptoms should be checked out by a doctor. You need to know that they are not a return or exacerbation of clots in the lungs. Also, some symptoms interfere with living or are dangerous. These need to be treated so you can go back to living!
  • Some symptoms are side effects of treatment.
  • After a pulmonary embolism the body spends a lot of energy on healing the heart and lungs. This means that you will be more fatigued. You also will get sick easier, stay sick longer, and find that you get more sick feeling when you are sick.

Why is a pulmonary embolism so serious? See this video using household items.

What is a pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism is when a blood clot lodges itself in the lung or lungs. The problem with this is that blood can't flow freely through the lungs. This prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs and makes the heart have to put more effort into pushing blood through the lungs. This makes pulmonary embolism a very serious problem. Many people with pulmonary embolisms never get a diagnosis until they are being autopsied. Sudden collapse and death are often attributed to an embolism. Death can occur even without any warning symptoms. The blood clot breaks off from someplace and blocks the lungs. If you are diagnosed with a PE you are one of the lucky ones. Pulmonary embolism recovery can be long if you have had substantial damage to your lungs or heart.

A medical lecture about why a PE may happen and what it can do to the body

Immediate and/or urgent care for pulmonary embolism

Immediate care will vary greatly. Patients with pulmonary embolisms may enter the hospital on their own volition. Walk in patients tend to be more stable, have less heart involvement, and smaller clots. These patients may have simple complaints of chest pain or shortness of breath. On the other hand, some patients enter the hospital in an ambulance because they have collapsed. Some patients die before they even know that they have a PE.

If the patient is highly unstable, doctors will run tests to determine the cause. As soon as the PE is discovered doctors may decide to use clot busters to clear the clots so that the patient can get oxygen back into the blood. Clot busters are a high risk treatment but can be a lifesaver for an unstable patient.

Those who are not unstable will have calmer diagnosis and treatment. The hospital will take vitals and possibly do any of the following: EKG, chest x ray, D-dimer, other blood work, contrast spiral CT, ultrasound, oxygen measurements. Once the PE is found, the patient will likely be placed on bed rest until the legs can be scanned to check for clots that might migrate. The patient will be started immediately on blood thinning medication. This is typically a heparin type drug for 24 hours and then the addition of warfarin.

When I entered the ER my doctor had called ahead of time. They did the EKG, blood work, and chest x ray. My oxygen was at 94%. My resting pulse was at 125. My primary doc was consulted by phone and a spiral CT scan with contrast dye was ordered. This scan showed multiple, large clots. Immediately I was hooked up to heparin and put on bed rest. That evening I was placed in the step down unit. Intensive care had no beds and I was stable enough to be in the step down. I remember being woken around 4 am by a lab guy looking for blood. I stuck out my arm and immediately went back to sleep. 30 minutes or so later the nurse came and shut down the heparin drip for an hour as I was too high. Another hour later she was back and it was placed back on. Each time someone was in I had to get a temperature and blood pressure reading. That was my first night

Medical lecture about PE treatment

The first few days in the hospital after a pulmonary embolism

The first few days after your pulmonary embolism will vary based on how severe your embolism is and what damage the embolism has done. All pulmonary embolism patients should expect to have additional tests. These tests should include a doppler (ultrasound) of your legs (both calf and thigh areas) to check for additional clots and an echocardiogram to evaluate damage that may have been done to your heart. If you have never been tested for clotting diseases and conditions in the past, I highly suggest that you insist on a hematologist to run a battery of blood work to determine if you have any clotting conditions. Some of the blood work will need to be done after your clots have healed and you are off of blood thinners because blood thinners will skew your body's chemistry and invalidate some types of blood tests. Any DNA tests for clotting conditions will be able to be done at this time as DNA is not affected by blood thinners.

People with small clots and little damage:

Some doctors are now sending people with minor pulmonary embolisms home rather than hospitalizing them. This group will receive an injectable low molecular weight heparin until the Coumadin is at a safe, therapeutic level. Those with minor embolisms may also remain in the hospital on heparin until the Coumadin is therapeutic. Either way, those with minor embolisms may be lucky enough to return to work a week or so after discharge.

Once you are safe and stable

Once your medical team has decided that you are safe and stable you may be allowed to use the restroom. Doctors need to make absolutely sure that there are no additional clots that may dislodge from walking before you will be allowed up. The leg ultrasounds mentioned above will provide solid evidence on the risk of more clots lodging in your lungs. This will give you a lot more freedom and will be a large step in your pulmonary embolism recovery.  The ability to walk means that you can do toiletting with more independance and will no longer have to use a bed pan.  Bed rest will remain a large part of your day. When you will be encouraged to walk the unit is based on what residual heart damage is found and how your body is faring. If your blood oxygen and heart rate look good you will begin to be allowed on supervised walks of the unit. Walking will help you prepare for going home. Walking will also help to prevent new clots.

When you may be leaving the hospital soon / when warfarin is at a therapeutic INR

As the days pass you will begin to feel like you are living with vampires. Blood work is checked day and night to keep your heparin dose at the correct, safe level and to see how your warfarin treatment is progressing. The warfarin dose is carefully adjusted. The goals a patient must reach in order to be discharged are:

  • No residual dangerous clots in the veins
  • A healthy heart or at least one that is on the mend
  • Good oxygen saturation in the blood
  • Pulse and blood pressure within good limits
  • Strong vital signs
  • No signs of internal bleeding
  • No significant worsening of symptoms
  • At lest 72 hours on warfarin and heparin
  • Warfarin at a therapeutic or close to therapeutic range

The big question that many people have is "what does therapeutic range mean?" Warfarin has to be at a fairly precise level in order to work well. If you take too much warfarin you will be more likley to have a significant problem with bleeding. If you take too little warfarin you are likely to develop blood clots. For many people this will mean an INR between 2.0-3.0. INR stands for "International Normalized Ratio". INR measures how long it takes your blood to begin to clot. There is no exact science to warfarin dosage. You will slowly have your warfarin increased until you are in range.

Your body may need a higher dose of warfarin than someone else. In these cases the patient will stay in the hospital for a longer period of time. My total stay was 11 days. I left with an INR of 1.8. I was given low molecular weight heparin to self inject until my primary care doctor could get me to therapeutic range. My vitals were fine and I was safe. The hospital felt that I would be safe at home as long as I continued a heparin type drug until my INR was high enough.

Coming home

You will need to have an appointment set up with your primary care physician or hematologist that is monitoring your case.  A doctor will need to see you soon after discharge and a few days a week until your warfarin dose pattern is established.  For the first few weeks you may be going once a week or so.

Some people bounce right back and return to work quickly.  Others will find that they have a lot of healing to do.  Here are some things that you might experience once home:

  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Symptoms that remind you of your PE

While these symptoms are common you should not dismiss them.  Talk to your doctor.  If any of them are severe, or you are not sure whether they resemble a clot or recovery, you should go to the emergency room and tell them that you had a recent PE.  They can test you to see if there are any new clots that have shown up.  Also, if you aren't feeling well work with your doctor to get better.  This may mean an exercise plan, gradual return to work, or medications to help specific symptoms.  Anti anxiety medication as well as asthma medication may help you depending on your circumstances.  Be your own advocate until you feel like you have gotten the best care that you can get.

I recommend getting a copy or your tests and files from the hospital so that you have them as a baseline for the future.

What restrictions will I have while recovering from a pulmonary embolism?

Most people report that there are no restrictions once they are home. Ask your doctor if you have restrictions but know that often exercise and sexual activity are safe as long as you listen to your body. If you are out of breath or your heart is racing, take a break or slow down the intensity of your activity. Exercise may help prevent further clots so don't give up on it.

How long will recovery take from a pulmonary embolism?

Recovery will depend on the severity of the PE and any possible heart damage. I was out of work for around 3 months. I was told that a year out from my hospitalization I should feel a lot better. It is looking like that was a good estimate for my body. I will sleep past 1:30 in the afternoon now without an alarm. I never did that before the PE. I also have an asthma like condition. The breathing problems from that cause coughing, mild shortness of breath, chest pain, and fast heart rate. The irony is that the pulmonologist can't "see" this condition. Luckily my doctor and the ER doctor have found it and know how to treat it. In some ways though it makes me sad. I wonder if I will have those symptoms forever as a legacy from the embolism. The great thing is, the fatigue is getting better every day. This is June. July was my hospital admission. There have been a lot of ups and downs. I have been to the ER two times for shortness of breath. Luckily, I was clot free both times. I am finding that colds and other respiratory infections hit me harder and for a longer period of time. My heart rate is still higher than what it used to be, but, it is down from where it was last July. I still feel chest pain on some days. I am still taking warfarin. I will go off the warfarin in July to have additional testing and to see if I can stay off of it. I am pleased with my progress as it has been a long road. Some people have a harder time with symptoms than I have. I am grateful that I haven't had excruciating chest pains or extreme shortness of breath.

Post pulmonary embolism expectations

Anticoagulation therapy may last anywhere from 3 months to 1 year post PE.  This therapy prevents new clots from forming.  Your old clots will be dissolved by enzymes in your body or they will be sealed off like a pearl.  Mine are all gone.  Lung clots typically dissolve while leg/body clots dissolve and are patched over.

You can come off of anticoagulation if there are no serious clotting conditions and if you haven't re-clotted while on anticoagulation.  If you clot again, you will go back on anticoagulation and will likely remain on it for life.

Pregnancy is still feasible.  Look for a OBGYN that specializes in high risk pregnancy and find a good hematologist.

While traveling, take precautions to prevent clots.  Drink water or electrolytic beverages, move around the cabin of the plane, take frequent rest stops in a car, consider prophylactic low molecular weight heparin injections, and possibly wear gradient compression stockings.  Above all talk to your doctor.

If you are bedridden, sick, or in surgery make sure that a doctor knows of your history and take steps to prevent clots before they happen.

All in all, life won't change too much.  Live with intention and appreciate your body.  It survived a potentially lethal assault.

Why did you have a clot?

What caused your clot? Did you have a clotting condition, thrombophilia, surgery, or other risk factor?

  • I have Factor V Leiden
  • I have a clotting condition other than Factor V Leiden
  • I had surgery recently
  • I was on an airplane
  • I was taking hormones (birth control, HRT)
  • I was bedridden due to illness
  • I was pregnant or had a baby in the last 6 months
  • I have cancer
  • It was caused by something that isn't listed here
  • My doctors never found a cause
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A year later, how life may look

I have had my year anniversary come and go.  I am no longer as tired as I used to be.  Many days I would say I have all the energy that I had pre-embolism.  I am off of Coumadin.  I started feeling a lot better when I stopped it.  I have a cough off and on and shortness of breath.  These have been traced to Vocal Chord Dysfunction and possible Asthma/reactive airway disease.  These do not appear to be caused by lung problems or lasting damage, rather, they may have been a result of the stress of the situation or my breathing patterns post PE.  I have been tested for a large range of clotting disorders.  I only have heterozygous Factor V Leiden.  I drink more water, take 15 minute rest breaks when driving or traveling, and leave my desk for breaks at work.  I notice my legs more.  I wonder if they have clots and find myself concerned that the twinge of pain is something more.  So far, it hasn't been.  I have chosen to see my hematologist once a year rather than dropping him entirely.  When I wish to have a child he will be an integral part of my medical team.  So, there it is.  I hope that this PE will be my only clot, but, time will tell.  Recovery comes.  A year makes all the difference in the world!

Recovery Time

How long did it take for you to feel fully recovered?

  • Less than a month
  • 1 - 3 months
  • 4-6 months
  • 6 months - 1 year
  • 1 year
  • 2 years
  • greater than 2 years
  • I never fully recovered
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And after even more time...

I have been thinking a lot about how blood clots change your life lately First, my grampa died. I look back at my clots and see my gramma's death as the possible start point for my oddyssey so it is a very good time to discuss this. I made a drive to and from Michigan to get stuff from grampa's house last weekend. I had to think about it... 3-4 hours there... will be working on my feet... 3-4 hours back. Okay, that means only 1 driving break each way. That isn't too bad. I should be fine. Then after the trip I found myself scanning for signs of new clots. So far there are none.

It got worse though a few days ago. I got a stomach bug. I was nauseous as anything. I laid in one position for literally 11-15 hours and only got up once. I was in bed for about 36 hours. I am now watching again for clots. I am wondering if I should tell my doctor. So far, no signs, so I haven't asked him. It should be fine. The dehydration from the ordeal was pretty bad... about 6%. That worries me as much as being stationary.

This is the life after clots. I can't tell I had them physically but mentally it will always be there.

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Comments 714 comments

Nita 7 years ago

Thank you sooo very much for writing this. I am 4 weeks past the PE & 2 days in the hospital and and am trying to figure out why I have so much chest pain. They have run extra blood tests and a chest X-ray but only have guessed it could be plursey or infartation (sp?). Your time spent on this article was a blessing to me. Thank you.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author

You are welcome! There ins't much written out there on receovery. Also, some Docs blow it off. I have coughing problems which were written off by my allergist and pulmonologist as not there and me over reacting. My family doc gave me a steroid inhaler and it has improved my quality of life a trillion times over! I haven't had the crushing pain that some have, but, I still get pain. It is just like a stomach stich/cramp but not as strong and can be anywhere from my sternum, to under my left arm, to under my breast. I now know it is a warning that the coughing and contriction will be kicking up. I suggest the support group at If you have any questions feel free to find me through the email link here.

Stephanie 7 years ago

Yes! Thank you very much for writing this. It has been a long and hard 4 months since my PE and 3 surgeries and two filters later, I am struggling to see an end to this chaotic mess. I am 28 years old and I feel the research and doctors have a harder time dealing with my complaints and questions because most of them are due to my age, wanting answers and results now. I want to get back to my normal life, especially doing triathlons again, or at least being able to walk at a normal speed, not 2.5mph....

It is good to hear more of an estimate for how long recovery may take. With PE's being the third most common cause of death it is amazing how little recovery information is available.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author

Stephanie, hang in there! It does get better. I know that some people on Daily Strength returned to marathon running. As physical activities are important to you, I recommend looking into pulmonary rehabilitation. In my are we have a exercise facility that focusses on medical rehab/training. I know that many physical therapy places are able to do this as well. They look at where you are now and set medical and physical goals and then have a trainer or PT work with you to meet those goals. Places that do cardiac rehab would be a good place to look. Also, yoga may be gentle enough for you now. Yoga is good as you can work on breathing as that is a central piece of yoga.

Chris Hartman 7 years ago

Thank you for writing this - I am also finding it hard to get any answers from doctors about recovery time - I find the pain medicine helps and also helps me not to be constantly reminded of the problem I have. I am wary of becoming dependent on the medicine though.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author

I am not sure how long it takes for the body to accustom itself to the pain medication. I know that it can, and, you can have withdrawal when coming of of it. I use my Vicodin pretty sporadically. It is for pain that Tylenol doesn't touch. My chest pains, while disturbing, don't need pain killer. It has been over a year though and I still have them. The pain tells me when my breathing will be bad. Best wishes!

Peggy 7 years ago

I was diagnosed with PE 5 days ago, spent 3 days in hospital and like you, was happy to come home. I am trying not to hyper-aware of every little symptom, but without much info on recovery it is hard to know whether something is a new symptom or part of the recovery process. I get daily headaches (new), back pain and nausea. I still have trouble taking a deep breath, Xanax helps some. I just want to get back to my normal life!! Thanks for compiling all this info!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author

Ugh on the daily headaches. I recommend going to or they are the 2 most useful sites. (I get chronic near daily headaches and have for years!) I would wonder if the anticoagulants may be worsening the headaches? That depends on if you had them before the hospital. Also, back pain, if it is upper back can be connected to that as well. The breathing will get better as time passes. I have lots of headache info if you need it.

RLee 7 years ago

Thank you for the information!!! I am still dealing with the mental fallout from realizing how bad I was and the posts here will give me peace of mind that I have been looking for. It's so hard to have others relate to how I feel. Thank you so much!

Peggy 7 years ago

Thanks for the offer on headache info --- I want to discuss with pulmonologist at appt tomorrow. I used to get migraines and these are not the same. I will say that even since my previous post, I have noticed improvement in breathing -- Thank God for Xanax. Once the struggling for air starts, you tend to start hyperventilating - just .5 mg Xanax seems to calm it all down. I am able to walk a mile each morning and am planning to return to work tomorrow if my INR is still good.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author

RLee, I think I didn't realize the miracle of living until this year when I looked at my CT and looked at what I think I know now about reading the CT. I see how much was occluded and am blown away. I think I am stuck with survivors guilt. I feel lost these days, like I was chosen for something but I have no clue what it is.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author


That is great! I am happy you are better! Try some yoga or meditation breathing CDs. I find they help. I have used free ones on iTunes. Search the podcasts for meditation. There are at least 2 free meditation podcasts there. If you need any more tips on headaches use the email link on this site and I will share. I know the asthma meds I use now cause massive headaches that don't go away. Thanks to the blood clots for that... If your headaches seem to be muscular or center in a pattern down your head, down your neck, over your shoulder I can recommend some self massage that you can use if your doctor doesn't think it will dislodge any more clots.

Stacey 7 years ago

Reading this website was extremely beneficial. My mom broke her ankle in the beginning of August severely enough that it required surgery with 6 screws in a plate. 2 and a half weeks later, she was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism and which was caused by the blood clot in her leg ( they discovered that this large clot was from her ankle to her hip!!) She was in the hospital for 11 days and is now home. While there she contracted C. difficile so she was ill on top of all this. She is still working on using her leg ( she is allowed a walking boot) with her walker but she still gets winded and is not able to do much during the day. I often worry that I am never going to have my mom back the way she used to be (extremely active and always busy) but now I see that recovery won't happen over night. Thank you for the article and for letting me share my story.

Sharon 7 years ago

Thank you so much for the article. After a PE, the source was in my leg, I am trying to adjust to everyday living. I was not made aware that I would still have the lung pain and shortness of breath. I am trying not to panic when this happens but to also be cautious. Your story and others comments have greatly helped me.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author

Stacey - I am glad that your mom has made it through all of that. It sounds like it has been a rough journey. Broken bones seem to be a cause of clots. Clots also tend to form any time we are inactive. If she was that active and then laid up for the ankle I can see that would be a large contribution. She may find some lingering problems with the leg clot. I understand that compression stockings and elevation can help with that. I am traveling again and doing stuff that a year ago I couldn't do. Start with little thing - a shopping trip to a little store you have wondered about that only takes 30 minutes or so or running basic errands. It may be beneficial to get a heart rate monitor from Polar so that you guys can see progress in the endurance that she has.

Lucy Pearse 7 years ago

HI all

I have to admit i have found your blog to be really helpful, i am 25 years old and was dianosed with a PE 5 weeks ago, i am still breathless and in pain, i am depserate to get back to work but doctors dont feel it is safe at the moment. I feel uselss and wish i could do more.

Is there any tips anything i need to look out for?

BeccaHubbardWoods profile image

BeccaHubbardWoods 7 years ago from Outside your window...

Thank you for this article. It's been almost two years since I was diagnosed with bilateral PE. I still hurt in my right lung. Sometimes it's worse than others. Saying that pregnancy is still possible brought me to tears. While I have two children already, I would like to have one more. My backwoods family doctor simply told me to give it up and forget about it. My pulmonologist asked me if I was going to have more, which did nothing but cause confusion. Thank you for making me realize it's time to change doctors and maybe there is a chance I can have another baby.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author

Sharon, hang in there! Find a way to chart your progress. Maybe a heart rate monitor watch, pedometer, or just a journal. Make notes of the good so you can see it and se progress.


I would make sure you know why the Docs don't want you back yet. I was out for 3 months but Dr would have been fine with me being back once my Coumadin was stable. I was way too tired though and was sleeping all day many days. Is there any work you can do at home? Maybe you can find a teacher or another person who could use some paperwork, sorting, or other at home easy activities to keep you busy and have you helping out. Listen to your body and journal the improvements so you can see them. You also might try doing grocery shopping in a place with the electric carts. It would help you do something. If you know an Occupational Therapist they also may help you find safe things to do or modify activities so that they are safe.

BeccaHubbardWoods, Look at my page on FVL, clotting, and pregnancy. There is a Yahoo support group that I have heard great things about. The big thing will be to see if what if any clotting conditions you have. This can help you weigh the safety and make an informed decision. Your pulmonologist may know a good hematologist to help with the testing and a good high risk OBGYN. Clots are very very common in and after pregnancy. Estrogen levels can cause PE, DVT, and strokes. I keep wondering about my pain. It is mild, like someone prodding me in my ribs by my left breast or like a muscle pinch behind the breast. No Dr is concerned so I just carry on. I do know it predicts breathing troubles. I have to wonder if it is muscle pain from working to breathe some days.

Peggy 7 years ago

Lucy - I had PE diagnosed 8/30 and was able to return to work 9/8. I still have a lot of shortness of breath and difficulty getting a deep breath, but as long as INR is consistently monitored, my doctors felt returning to normal activity was better than being home. I agree! I have follow up with pulmonologist on Monday a.m. and will have Pulmonary Function Tests to see why I am still have so much problem getting deep breath this far in. He has also recommended another echo cardiogram as there is a possibility of secondary pulmonary hypertension. If I find out anything new and interesting, I'll post.

Peggy 7 years ago

So pulmonary function tests were good as was a follow up echo cardiogram. I really didn't want the tests, but I guess in the long run, it rules out any other organic cause. The shortness of breath improves daily, but don't expect it to be completely resolved for months. The constant INR's are just an annoying bonus! Can't wait for that to be over. FU CT Scan end of November........

Rhonda 7 years ago

I am so glad I found this post. I found out I had pe on Aug26. I was in the hospital for 5 days. I returned back to work on the 21st of Sept part time and full time last week on the 28th. Today is Oct 6, and I am starting to feel panic. Walking the down the hall today I got very winded. I am not a fast walker, really never have been. My gout is acting up so my walking is slower than normal. I dont know if my mind is playing tricks on me or if my body is telling me to slow down and take it easy. I go back to the doctor next week for my pt test. I just need help to get over this feeling. Is this normal?

lucy 7 years ago

HI all

Thanks for your posts, the reason i am still off work is i get shortness of breath after 20m and have a ;pain in my chest on my right side constantly, i am also very tired and bretahless, i was admitted last week as they suspected i had another PE, however fortunately i didn't although i still have my chest pain etc, today i went in for my routine INR and it was low 1.9 normally stable at 2.5, i alsi expereicned pain 9 chest pain and grasping for breath, the duty gp told me not to worry as last week they did not find a new clot so it will be ease lol, he told me to breathe it and not be paranoid, i was very distressed by this comment i am not been paranoid!! i have sen my own GP since this morning who informed me that i am not paranoid but there was nothing they could do until i see the specialist does anyone else have the same problems.?

I am fed up with the fact that people think your paranoid he told me that he empathasises with me, how can he.

Peggy 7 years ago

It is very easy for healthcare professionals to dismiss the shortness of breath and pain as anxiety and "hyperawareness" syndrome. While being more of aware of the way you breath can cause you to feel more symptoms, there is also a component that is not anxiety induced! The sad part of this that you now become afraid to mention any symptoms b/c you don't want to be deemed paranoid. It takes time to heal and while healing you WILL have symptoms, just keep your INR in check, watch to be sure your ankles don't swell and if the symptoms are severe enough, see a different pulmonologist.....

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Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author


I started a walking program when I started getting back into things. Before I did that 1 hour walking slowly had me dead. We loose lung function from the PE and we also loose athletic ability from being in bed for the days in the hospital and beyond. Muscles go quickly. Listen to your body and work on reconditioning yourself. If the winded turns into shortness of breath feel free to make a trip to the ER. I did that 2x in the 6 months after my PE. Do tell your doctor. You can ask him/her to listen to your chest and see what they hear. At the end of winter/early spring I was having a ton of great days. I loved locking up the cars on the car lot I work at. It is a lot of walking and I could go so quickly and still breathe. By summer, I couldn't breathe again. It is a roller coaster to say the least. You might try a cd or dvd of yoga breathing exercises as well.


YES! Granted my GP has been my saving grace. Sometimes there was nothing he could do but he always checked me out. He have me my 1st pulmonologist referral last summer. I hated her. She blew me off. I fired her. He referred me out again this summer and the new guy was great. That Dr referred me to the voice and swallowing clinic in town as they work with chronic cough. Both Drs there who are on my case seem really good and open. It seems my breathing problems are caused somewhat by vocal chord dysfunction which has nothing to do with the PE - granted is rather strange it started then - but, I am so happy to have someone listen! My GP for the last year had been doing his best with my shortness of breath and cough. The asthma meds have helped a lot. If you can't function with the symptoms that you have, fight to get them better. It may need exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, asthma treatment or who knows what else. Be your own advocate. Also, bring a trusted person with you who has seen you with those symptoms. They can chime in if needed and can remember to say the stuff you might forget. They also will tell you if the agree that the doc is a dud. My allergist wrote me off, my first pulmonologist wrote me off. It is a balance of learning to accept the changes in your body and knowing which ones are unacceptable.

Peggy - thanks for helping with your thoughts! Having another voice here is helpful for all the "newbies" to this journey.

Lucy  7 years ago


THankyou so much for your advice, it really helped me, I have made a website, a blog really for people to air their comments etc, can i recommend your website to people as i do feel that it is excellent and that you have supported me more than you can imagine, i hope you dont mind me asking.

Marisa 7 years ago

Thank you so much for writing this. I had pulmonary embolisms for a month but was originally diagnosed with pneumonia (my veins at the time were impossible to get a big enough IV in). My symptoms got worse to a point where I was completely out of breath only mustering one word at a time before I went to the ER. I just got out of a 7 day stay in the hospital and was on heparin and coumadin the entire time. I have had stabbing chest and back pains now for over a month and they are continuing even after my 7 day treatment. I sleep continuously throughout the day and still occasionally get short of breath. I was given Xanax to help with the anxiety of not being able to catch my breath which has actually helped. My pulse is finally under 130 and was actually 95 today. my blood pressure is ALL OVER THE PLACE. It has gone from 130-80 to 87/42...... I still have many more appointments and am on oxygen now.

BTW, I am a 25 year old Female of lower average weight. I am waiting for the genetic blood tests to see if I am predisposed to blood clots.

Again, thank you for sharing and also stating what RECOVERY is like. It explains a lot of what I have been feeling since I got out of the hospital.

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Lwelch 7 years ago from USA Author

Lucy - Thank you! It would be great to have you link to my page. In fact, it would be an honor.

Marissa - It sounds like you may have yourself a collection of specialists. If not, you might want to get some. I believe that some hospitals have thrombosis centers. Maybe you will want to get yourself to one or have your doctor consult with them if you can't travel. The wild blood pressure would make me wonder a lot if I were you. If you haven't already, get an echocardiagram (piccies of your heart) and ask about wearing a holter monitor which will watch your ekg for 24 hours while you are home. I would journal so you may find connections to the peaks and valleys in your pressure. Also, if you haven't had additional CT scans, you might consider that. It might show if there are remaining clots or other lung issues that may be messing with blood pressure. The last though is, do you have any signs of bleeding? The anticoagulants you are on can increase the risk of bleeds and bleeds can lower blood pressure.

James  7 years ago

It has been a little more than a year since my hospitalization, and I still suffer from chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue; I’m glad to find out that I'm not the only one who has had a long recovery from PE. On September 22, 2008, I was taken to the ER because of shortness of breath, after an EKG and other tests; they decided to perform a CT scan. The CT scan showed that I had "Showers" of blood clots through out both lungs, that is how the doctor described it… They immediately started lovenox injections, a heparin IV, and warfarin. After seven days in the hospital, I was sent home on warfarin and my INR has been consistently in the 2.3 – 2.8 range. My hematologist has performed genetic testing, once while I was in the hospital and again this past March, both times I tested positive for the antibodies indicating I may have APS, (Antiphospholipid Syndrome, i.e. sticky blood), he is going to perform the test again in February to confirm or deny that I have this condition. Anyone else have a diagnosis of APS?

Vicki 7 years ago

My 19 year old daughter had ankle surgery on 09/18/09 then was diagnosed with a DVT on 10/06/09. She was hospitalized and IV Heparin and Coumadin was started. Two days after she was in the hospital she developed a fast heart rate; thus a CTA was performed which showed she had multiple small pulmonary emboli that had showered in both lower sylobes of her lungs. They said it was the same treatent and continued her Heparin and Coumadin. Once her INR was 2.1 she was released from the hospital. Three days after being released from the hospital she developed chest discomfort. Her primary care physician ordered a CT chest which was done at his office. The CT chest showed that she now had much worsening of her pulmonary emboli; they were concerned she even had a saddle emboli. She was rushed back to the hospital and admitted to ICU. She continued to have the chest discomfort and only slight SOB. Her vitals were normal and her O2 sats remained normal between 96-99%. They started her on Lovenox injections and stopped the Coumadin. Her second day in the hospital, she developed chest pain, not just discomfort, now it was sharp chest pains. They repeated the CTA which showed multiple large pulmonary emboli in both lungs but no saddle emboli. The treatment remained the same with the Lovenox injections since her vital signs and O2 sat were within normal limits. She was released 5 days ago and she is taking the Lovenox injections twice daily. She is still having episodes of SOB, extreme fatigue, severe and dull chest pain, nausea, and she feels lightheaded. As with many of you, I have been trying to find more information on symptoms that follow Pulmonary Embolus and what to expect in the recovery. I have called her hematologist but was advised by the nurse that he would go over everything at her follow-up appt. I just need to know when we need to do something or if it is to be expected in her recovery. She is a sophmore in college and was hoping to return to classes next week; however, I am concerned that she will not feel up to it for several more weeks. Are her symptoms normal and to be expected, and if so, how long were your symtoms this severe? I appreciate your help!

Mary 6 years ago

Thank you so much for your article on recovery! I had begun to think my exhaustion was just me being a wimp. Interestingly, your research and everyone's observations have me concerned again over an issue I battled after experiencing a head injury seven years ago. When I talked with a neuropsychologist about how my colleagues often seemed not to believe me when I told them of the head injury problems and/or called in sick, the neuropsychologist said that a head injury is considered an "invisible injury" in that, because people can't see obvious signs of it, they only have so much patience with accommodating sick leave, headaches, and other sensitivities. Do you think PE may also be considered an "invisible illness?" I have a new job since the head injury and was enjoying starting over without being regarded as unreliable, but now I'm concerned I'll end up going through this perception problem all over again. I enjoy my work, I want to contribute, to be taken seriously, and to be believed. Guess I'll have to talk to a therapist about how to handle the interaction so I can safeguard my health after the PE but also still enjoy my job and contribute. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, because in truth I'm extremely grateful to be alive. I don't have the "why me?" and "this is unfair" reactions that I had after the head injury. Instead I'm most interested in moving forward, so I'm wondering if any of you have experienced problems in your workplace with people not believing you about your symptoms that you need to take care of and how you handled this situation - if you've experienced it.

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author


I have tested negative for APS but there are plenty out there who have it. Check out the APS friends and support group at


I am happy to see that your daughter has stable vitals. That is very important. The clots will take time to dissolve and her body needs to heal. I bet next year will be markedly better than this year. That said, if you don't feel you understand the answers as to "why" then keep looking. Some doctors that you can consult are a family doctor or other primary care, cardiologist, hematologist, or pulmonologist. You can also try to find an anticoagulation clinic. Another resource is a nurse call line that many insurance companies keep. Counseling can help as near death experiences are stressful to say the least. I was out of work for 3 months. Can she maybe arrange her classes to be independent study so she can work at her own pace? Another idea is having her continue with a partial course load. If at any time her symptoms get markedly worse, seek emergency care. I suggest finding an online support group. You will find options for those sprinkled throughout my sites. Also, feel free to email me.


I have been lucky. Work has been good for the most part. This year the entire company is cracking down on absences and that has been hard to say the least. I know it could be a real problem at some point. I am hoping I don't get H1N1 for that very reason. If you are having problems, have your doctor document everything for them. It is an invisible illness. If you have an EAP at work, seek their help as well. Also, if you have a newsletter or the like at work, maybe write an article about what PE is and how to avoid it and identify it. The therapist you have should have some good ideas. If you have any FMLA time left, use that to cover the chronic conditions that you have as souvenirs of your PE as that is covered and then you are sheltered by federal law.

Carina 6 years ago

Hello. Thank you so much for writing this! I felt so relieved to know another person's experience.

I had just turned 21 when I had a pulmonary embolism. I stayed in the hospital for 7 days. Since then I've been home for almost 2 weeks.

A week after I left the hospital, I went back to college. I felt fine during the day but then really exhausted at night and decided to rest for a few more days.

So far I've been really lucky. I haven't experienced any pain, only a slight shortness of breath. This was my first major health problem... before this I had always been the healthiest person ever, taking all the precautions to stay that way.

I feel that my mind needs to recover from this ordeal just as much as my body. During my hospital stay I broke down in tears twice. After being released, I felt constantly scared of any problems in my body. At night I was afraid to fall asleep and never wake up again.

It's true that the recovery is much longer than simply the hospital stay.

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

Carina, I am glad that recovery is going well. Fatigue was my biggest problem. I still wonder if I am more tired than I was pre-PE. Hard to tell now though with so much time past. The hospital is who keeps us alive and makes sure we are on a safe path to recovery. The real recovery is at home, college, work etc... Many colleges offer free mental health services. If you have some available to you, use them. There is a lot to sort out in one's mind.

JosieB 6 years ago

I had a PE and was admitted to the hospital on Oct 1st this year. I was in the hospital for 5 days. I returned to work after being off for three weeks. I'm still part time but will increase hours in a week or so. I am still dealing with a lot of fatigue and a constant lightheaded feeling. I do feel it is from the PE. I was very lucky. I had extremely large clots in both lungs. I went to work for over a week with SOB and swelling in my affected leg that got worse by the day. I was told by several doctors I was lucky to have survived and that people die everyday from PE's that are a lot less invasive than mine. I only went to the ER because I had a massive headache, nausea and SOB that did not go away after I got to my desk the day I ended up in the hospital.

My O2 sats were never below 98 before I went in the hospital. Since I have been out they run 91 with light walking and my pulse goes up to 120 to 150 easily. I get lightheaded and faint feeling when talking or standing in one place for extended periods of time. I was fortunate though that the doctor that saw me in the ER ordered a D-Dimer blood test and when it came back elevated they did a lung CT with and without contrast. That was when the truth came to light. My flight home from a two week vacation was probably the culprit.

All in all it has been an eye opening experience. I am slowly getting better. I have problems with an abdominal bleed a few days after I got out of the hospital when my warfarin spiked up. I have had problems with fuzzy vision, headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, fuzzy memory and slow thinking as well as nausea and diarrhea almost daily. I think it will get better with time.

Other people have a hard time understanding how slow the recovery is and that it takes time to feel better. I have said numerous times that when a person is ill if they don't have an external wound it is hard for others to understand how sick a person is.

Thanks for your wonderful site and information regarding your own personal experiences and recovery!

Alicia S 6 years ago

I am so glad to find a site that offers support such as this. I was hospitalized Labor Day weekend with 3 large PEs, and I was kept in the ICU for 5 days with the usual heparin drip and coumadin intro. It has taken over 2 months for my INR to finally reach 2.97, all the while, taking 16 mgs of coumadin nightly. I have been in the ER twice since my hospitalization with SOB and related symptoms. I have seen a hematologist and was diagnosed as Protein C and Protein S deficient. My hematologist informed me that I will be out or work for atleast one year, possibly longer, as there are residual problems stemming from my experiences. I am being sent to cardio this week to rule out any cardiac damage and to rule out secondary pulmonary hypertension. I am also having a repeat CAT scan to see if my clots have dissolved at all. My recovery has been shaky, at best. I am scared when I go to bed each night that I may not wake up in the morning. Dizziness, fatigue, anxiety are all part of my daily norms. This entire situation scares me because I am a 45 year old single mom. My daughter has seen me at my worst and she lives in constant fear that she may come home from school one day only to find me dead. How sad. She'll really flip out when I tell her that because my blood disorder is inherited, she'll have to undergo some lab work to determine if she is going to need treatment. I hope/pray each and every day that God sees fit to let me see another day! Thanks for letting me share. Nobody in my family understands and although my friends say they want to listen, they really can't know what it is like to live with this condition.

Allison 6 years ago

THANK YOU for this article. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I was in the hospital less than 2 months ago and diagnosed with a PE. I have had chest and back pains ever since, sometimes worse than others, and it is such a nerve-wracking feeling. Reading this article, and the comments that have followed, have put my mind at ease. I don't want to be viewed as a hypochondriac or alarmist, but as others have mentioned, these residual feelings are so scary and unnerving, it is so hard not to panic.

Thanks again for posting your experience(s), I truly appreciate it.


A well-loved wife & mommy of two:)

Carmen 6 years ago

I sent this article to everyone in my family - thank you so much! After much Googling and several Doctor's visits I finally feel more relaxed that my fatigue, heart racing and lightheadedness is all normal... It's been a frustrating process trying to get recovery information from the Doctors. I was diagnosed with PE a month ago and after a week in hospital stayed home for another 2. I expected everything to go back to normal and couldn't understand why I felt so tired (almost fell asleep at the wheel!) but am now learning to listen to my body without feeling like a "hypochondriac". Thank you so much for this article and for everyone who's contributed to it!

Elizabeth 6 years ago

I'm so glad I found your story - I was beginning to wonder about myself! I had bilateral PEs diagnosed in the ER about a month ago, spent about a week in the hospital and then another week in a rehab hospital. I've been home a week and thought I'd feel as good as new -- wrong! I'm so tired, still have sharp but intermittent chest pain (guess that's why they sent me home with all those painkillers) and don't feel anything like new! But it appears I have plenty of company...

Dayna 6 years ago

This has been very helpful. I am a 36 yr old that has had several knee surgeries in the past. On Friday the 13th (nov) I was experiecing a little pain in my knee that caused me to limp a little 3a.m. I woke up in tears with terrible pain throughout my knee. I limped around for another day and by Sunday I couldn't put weight on my leg at all. I saw my Orthopedist on Tuesday the following week which by this time the pain was terrible in the knee itself, but also through my entire leg (hip to ankle). The Dr. tried to draw fluid from the knee so tests could be ran...nothing. So I was sent for blood work to check for infection (my leg was very swollen and a little red, these tests revealed nothing too)and immediately back to my small town hospital for an Ultrasound on my leg to check for a DVT. The result was negative, so they released me and out I went for an MRI the next day. With an old ACL injury the film was scattered from metal, so they preceded to schedule a scope surgery for Friday the 20th. The swelling had already gone down prior to the surgery, had the knee scope and went home. The following Monday morning I awoke at about 3a.m. with ribcage pain. It felt like I was hit by a car...I ended up in the ER with bilateral PE's. I was in the hospital from Monday to Friday working with the blood thinners, seems routine in all comments posted. My vitals were good...but it seemed the day I was released, I felt worse than the day before. I have not done follow up care yet, that will be this week...but I think they feel this came from my knee surgery and I think I may have had it before and that is why my leg hurt so bad. I don't want them to blame that and not find the root cause...I had no injury to my knee when it started hurting. I have had some trouble w/ an epidural during delivery one year ago...and ever since then I have sufferd with lower back pain (which seems a little worse now) headaches (which seem more frequent again) and I am low in vitamins B1,B6,B12,D,Potassium and Magnesium. I also experience numbness...but needless to say the PE's are causing me to be tired...with chest pain, more of a compressed feeling I guess. I wonder if anyone had anything like I did? I am very confused right now, can anyone suggest anything?

Beth 6 years ago

Thank you for writing this! I developed multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli October 2008 following surgery on my leg and experienced respiratory failure. At this same time, I also developed infection in my bone, my blood and my heart (endocarditis). I have asthma, pulmonary hypertension and congestive heart failure though, fortunately, with only mild shortness of breath most of the time. My heart occasionally goes into a-fib. I had surgery again in September 2009 and developed PEs again. My medical record from this last hospitalization says, "The pulmonary emboli have increased since December of 2008." Increased! I foolishly thought the PEs from the first time would be gone. Does this mean my lungs are permanently affected by them? I ask because I feel so fatigued. I go to physical therapy, but find that after 6 weeks of PT I don't feel in any better physical condition. I feel horrible after only 3 minutes on a seated stepper, but persist the full 10 minutes anyway thinking I easily did this last spring after the first round of PEs and I'll only improve if I push myself to try. Yet I don't improve. I'm also anxious and depressed. I have trouble concentrating, too. I'm very, very tired all the time. Why didn't my doctors say anything about how I might feel following PEs? I've been feeling so guilty all the time because I thought I was just "acting like a baby".

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

It's been a while since I replied to all of you. I will hit Beth's tonight and then work on getting to the rest of you.


I don't know if you have a hematologist. If you don't, I recommend getting one. You should be having less clots if you are on a blood thinner and if the source of all the clots (such as legs) has thrown all of the clots into the blood. Sometimes residual ones can move from the legs or other areas and into the lungs after the initial clotting. Some types of fibrillation can cause increased clotting. Warfarin is generally prescribed for this group of people for life.

I can see why you are a wreck. You are not better, maybe worse, and without answers. Your lungs put oxygen in your blood. Your heart has to move the blood to get the oxygen into it. Your fatigue and mental drain is likely coming from not getting as much oxygen. This can be from the heart failure and/or the clots.

Is the PT that you are doing at a heart rehab center? If it isn't, I would recommend finding one if there is one in your area. They are set up for the challenges of having heart/lung problems. You could also ask if gentle yoga or swimming would help and be less strenuous for you.

I think you should think about these goals

1. See a hematologist to discover the source of the clots

2. Find an occupational therapist to talk about energy conservation and home /work adaptations that will help you do better with what you have

3. If you're not in heart rehab and can get into one - do so.

4. See if you can determine what problems are from clots and what are from the heart

5. Advocate advocate advocate! You know this isn't working. Find out why. Why more clots, why no improvement... etc

Next, you sound like you have been through medical miracle land. This used up your body's resources, but, you survived it! Counseling may help you deal with the loss and frustration of your injuries. Also, see if the PT sees any improvements. Maybe it is just hard for you to see as you are dealing with the mess and remember life "before".

As I offer to others, please feel free to contact me privately through hubpages. Welcome to the journey of recovery. Best wishes.

Meg 6 years ago

My very non-sedentary, active and healthy husband was diagnosed with PE, got pneumonia secondarily, and stayed at the hospital for only 4 days. He has now been released to my care. I am somewhat apprehensive taking care of him. Last night he sweat excessively all night. Is this normal? His breathing wasn't great either. They said he still has the blood clots, and that I am to continue giving him his lovenox shots in his belly, which is now black and blue from the shots. We have our first visit to check his INR tomorrow, but in no way is he within normal range. They have no idea where the clots came from either, since he had no surgery on his legs, although he suffers from chronic knee pain from sports injuries. Nothing showed up on the ultrasound, either. Does anyone else not have a clue as to where the clots came from?

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

Meg - While I now know that there were factors that may have contributed to my clots, a "source" was never found. My legs were free of any clots. My symptoms that landed me in the hospital included the night sweats and the breathing problems. They are both common symptoms of a PE. The Lovenox will make you black and blue. Try some of the tips on my other articles for minimizing bruising. They include ice and direct pressure - lots of both. You could always ask for a hemotologist consult to see if there are any blood conditions that are contributing to the clots. Clotting can be caused by blood conditions, surgery, inactivity, flying, car travel, and many other benign activities. If you have insurance you may have a nurse line to call. Use it. They were so nice in talking to me after my PE. They gave me a lot of good info!

Dayna - update 6 years ago

I thought I would touch base again to fill readers in on my story. I have been seeing my PCP, a hemotologist and a pulmonologist. Come to find out after a 1 week stay at the blod clot was still present behind my knee. Since I was on coumadin already the doctors told me it would dissolve (and I thought I would need a filter). I still can't bend or straighten my knee without severe feels like something is behind my knee and lifting my knee cap. I am not a baby and can handle pain, but this isn't the same pain as just having a meniscal is different! My hemotologist has diagnosed me with "Lupus Anticoagulant Syndrome", which I will need to be re-checked to make sure I didn't has a false positive test. Who do I see for that? Why me? My pulmonologist had told me that the vessels my PE's were in will never heal....they are ruined. My PCP really hasn't done much other than control my INR (which is done w/ a finger prick...are those even accurate?)

I feel like I don't know what specialist to ortho has been the most help and they are the ones who finally found my blood clot. Had an ultrasound prior to a knee scope and they found nothing....had a repeated ultrasound during my week stay at the hosptal...again nothing. After being discharged from the hospital, my ortho ordered a CT scan and there it was! So I am frustrated that my home town hospital missed it twice and also upset because they would not do a CT scan (had to go out of town) because an ultrasound is normal protocol (even knowing that ultrasound is famous for missing a DVT in the lower leg). GET CT SCANS!!!

So now I just want some answers to how I will be treated for this and by who. I still get short of breath, my chest still hurts and I get tired very easy. I am doing PT for my knee, but most of all I just want to walk normal again and know what its gonna take to live with this new lifestyle. I will keep every posted...

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

A hematologist works on disorders of the blood. They will be able to retest you for Lupus Anticoagulant as well as any other clotting disorders. You can read my page on clotting disorders for brief summaries of the tests that will be needed and of the condition.

I understand that DVTs frequently leave scarring and clotting behind. Compression stockings can help with that.

Breathing - that is a hard one. Time will be the biggest treatment. I saw a pulmonologist but really time was what did it. The pulmonologist just ruled stuff out. The one benefit I had from the pulmonologist was my recent diagnosis of vocal chord dysfunction. Has nothing to do the with the PE other than stress tends to trigger that condition.

Try some easy exercise that you can handle. Yoga, walking, slowly paddling around a pool. Elevate your leg a lot. Track your progress. It can be VERY hard to see as it is slow.

joe 6 years ago

I spent 7 days hospitalized with bilaterial PE'S in October.

Joe 6 years ago

After spending 7 days hospitalized with bilaterl PE'S in October, my PCP refered me to hematologist. He told me that he could not do any testing as long as I was on thinners...Still no answers, and mt R foot will tingle after setting for 30 minutes or more. While my L calf will swell and ache after driving for an extended period of time.

I too am still have shortness of breath, which seems to be better in cold weather, and worse in a warm room.

Lung Dr has yet to tell me anything. Where do I turn for answers?

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

My testing was only partially done while on the thinners. You can have the genetic test for Factor V Leiden as well as (I believe) some testing for Lupus Anticoagulant (you will have to check for sure on that one). Once you are done with your mandated round of Coumadin you will be able to have the other tests done. You will wait a few weeks for your blood counts to return to normal and then they will test you. I would focus on what you should do to treat your legs. You could ask your PCP and your hematologist about that treatment. You could also ask them for referrals to other specialists who may be able to help. Look into compression stockings if you haven't done that already. you may be able to call a coumadin clinic for referrals as well.

To learn more about the testing end of things check out

Ang Kennedy 6 years ago

Thanks so much for this information. I was diagnosed with a very small PE a month ago and I was feeling better for a few weeks and now I'm having a lot of problems breathing again. I also have near fainting spells from low blood pressure. I couldn't find any informnation on how long symptoms could last when I was just searching for Pulmonary embolism.

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

Breathing does seem to vary after a PE. My problems turned out to be from Vocal Chord Dysfunction. Why did I get that after the PE? No one knows. There is no link between the 2. If you continue to have breathing problems many months out, be your own advocate and find out why. There are a ton of great, open minded doctors out there. You just have to find them!

Eddie 6 years ago

Hi it was nice to find something on recovery,I had a bilateri PE on the 5th of January spent four day in icu and three days in a step down room i was released and was glad to start recovery but to my surprise 5 days later i passed a clot again now i sit in the hospital in recovery process again. But i would like thank you for some hope in my recovery I know

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author


I hope that you are lucky enough to be in a hospital that has moved to private rooms! If you have to be there, it is so much better to have your own space.

I think that passing subsequent clots is typical. I was not allowed out of bed until they did an ultrasound of my legs to look for more clots. They were clear, but I wonder where the clots came from. They had to be somewhere. This means there was a real risk of more of them showing up. Blood thinners don't get rid of the clots; they stop new ones from forming.

joe 6 years ago

Had bilateral PE's in Oct. Still have shortness of breath, never had before. 60yr old non smoker, who was extremely active

Had A PFT this wk.FVC is 81%, FEV1 is 61%, FEV25-75%/Lsec is 49%,PEF is 32, FIVC is 72% and MVV is 54%

DLCO was 87%. DA Adj. 87% and VA was 79%

Would the PE,s cause damage like this?

AG 6 years ago

Thanks for the Article , it s strange that not much info is available when it comes to recovery from PE ... i am a Doctor and my wife was diagnosed with a PE a month ago .. shw wasin Hospital for one day only and she is now on warfarin .. she is normally well and healthy , never had any problems before , no risk factors , no history of DVT , no family history of any throbophilic conditions and she is only 35 .. she is still complaining of chest pains , shoulder pains , she gets short of breath and she uses inhalers on regular bases .. her INR remains at about 2.8 ... she get a lot of non specific symptoms that ll come and go .. i hope that the absence of any other medical problems and her age will make recovery easier for her .. i am convinced that the psychological aspect is the key issue..thanks for the article again and i wish that u r feeling better day after day ...

D.S. 6 years ago

In a previous reply to a comment you mentioned "I feel lost these days, like I was chosen for something but I have no clue what it is..." I think this is what you were meant to do. Your article and your informative comments have been key in helping me get through some of the rough patches in the two weeks since being discharged with multiple pulmonary emboli in both lungs....and I am truly grateful.

Doctors have been quick to just dismiss problematic symptoms as simple anxiety. I have learned through researching on the internet that some of these "side effects" that people are experiencing are related to the blood thinning drugs as well as other drug interactions if they are on multiple medications. Also it seems that people experience more problems when their INR hits a level that seems to be unacceptable with their bodies.

In dealing with these symptoms I suggest people regularly monitor and chart their blood pressure and heart rate. Also start a food log because of the problems of Vitamin K and blood thinners. My INR dropped from 2.4 to 1.5 in several days even though I was on 7.5 warfarmin. Needless to say my doctor had no clue to as why this happened. I realized that even though I was not eating the dark green leafy stuff that I had eaten other things that contained vitamin K. The combination of all these foods in a short period of time and given me enough Vitamin K to drop my INR levels. So printing out a list of foods containing Vitamin K would also be a good idea. Learning about and involving yourself in any time of meditation and breathing exercises is also helpful because it will not only get you through anxiety and temporary breathlessness but it will help strengthen your lungs.

Lastly I can not stress this enough: if you find your doctor is not having enough concern for you during your recovery seek another doctor. (A doctor who lacks communication skills and empathy will also cause a lot of anxiety in a patient.) A patient must be able to trust that his physician will give him the best care possible - we pay them for this service.

I wish everyone the best in their recovery. And again thankyou Lwelch so very much for this information.

Yvonne 6 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I was diagnosed with a DVT and the very next day was admitted with a PE. I am 30 years old with 2 young children at home and this experience has been so hard emotionally and physically. I am grateful to read about people who have gone through the same thing I am going through now.

cahikerchick 6 years ago

I recently spent 9 days in the hosptial due to PE. I am a 52 year old female and an avid hiker(10 - 15 miles at a time). For the past 8 years the doctors have done various tests to find out why I am consistently SOB and have rapid heartrate with any exertion as well as a DLCO of 48% - 54% (all other PFT numbers were normal); I am always at the back of the hiking pack despite my weekly hikes. PE was always considered, but a VQ scan in 2003 was clear as was a CT in 2005. In 2008 I had a VQ scan that was positive, but a CT the next day was clear, my cardiologist did not act on this. On January 2nd of this year I was awakened by severe pain on the right side of my ribcage which resolved until January 11th when I woke up thinking I was having a heart attack, the pain was sooo severe. A chest xray showed plural effusion and a CT showed bilateral pulmonary emboli. It seems that a PE caused some damage and the pain was due to fluid between the lungs and the chest wall. I had noticed that the previous month I was more short of breath than normal when hiking. When I went into the hospital, my pain had subsided, I felt perfectly fine...maybe just a little more short of breath than usual. I tested positive for two genetic clotting factors, Factor V and Prothromin; I was also on oral contraceptives. Fortunately, my clots did not develop in my legs and they were small. The pulmonologist believes that I have had chronic PE's and this could be the reason for my low DLCO and high heart rate and SOB with hiking. I also ended up with a rare reaction to the Comadin with regard to my liver enzyems, and have to take Lovenox daily; probably for life. By day 5 of the hospitalization I was going stir crazy, because I felt fine. Once I got home, I took a week off from work, mostly because I would get so tired during the day, which I attributed to being hospitalized for so long. I did go hiking a week after release and was more SOB than normal. I hiked last weekend and did better than usual. I've been back to work one week ago today and I feel completely back to normal. I believe that I am on the mend, and hopefully my 8 year quest to find an answer has been resolved. I will continue to see the pulmonologist and will be seeing a hematologist who specializes in clotting disorders this week. I felt sorry for myself for about 5 minutes. I still consider myself healthy, doing daily injections is a minor inconvenience. I feel lucky to be alive.

Arthur  6 years ago

I am 30 years old and Active Duty Military. Have a removable filter and doing the anti-coagulation therapy. Filter is due to come out soon. Have you heard anything about being able to stay Military and continue with this condition?

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

I haven't heard anything about that - sorry. Clots are so common I bet you can go back in. Especially as being active helps the clots. But, no clue. I know that health problems can be very problematic for those in the military - perhaps another ready can comment on that for you.

Doriann 6 years ago


I had a saddle pulmonary embolism on 21st December 2009, 3 weeks after an achilles tendon repair. When the embolism hit I had a type of siezure, I think that was when the clot went through my heart, followed by a sustained peroid where I was unconscious. I was fortunate my mother was with me and she grabbed me and shouted. I believe at that moment I died. I did come round and the next 12 hours (which are critical in treatment of a PE) I lay around the casualty and ward of the hospital. My parents called an abulance which arrived but the people we not trained, they even asked if I could walk downstairs which I couldn't I had a huge fibre glass cast from the surgery. I was also in and out of consciousness. I was actually fainting continually as the oxygen saturation dropped and my brain wasn't getting enough oxygen. I went down the stairs on my bum one at a time stopping to faint every few steps. I eventually got into the ambulance and was taken to the nearst private hospital. The doctor on duty thought I may have a cellulitis in the wound from the surgery. They did put me on oxygen almost immediately which improved my condition hugely. He did a FBC and the white cells were marginally raised, this was conclusive (he thought). He spoke to the surgeon who did the repair and the surgeon asked him to remove the cast to see if there was a possible infection. Neither of them suspected a clot. I find that very hard to believe as I had had leg surgery a few weeks before and that is a major risk factor.

Fortunately, he admitted me and didn't send me home and put me on an antibiotic drip. I went to the ward which was about 3 am. Once they had gone through all the administrative stuff that goes with being admitted my parents left thinking I would be fine now. However, as time went by my condition deteriorated and I was battling to breathe. I repeated called the nurses to assist me and call a doctor. They did not. I asked for a nasule canula as I felt claustrophobic with the mask on my face as I couldn't breathe. When I complained of chest pain they did an ECG. After many hours at 8 am a doctor was finally called and I was wheeled immediately into ICU. They gave me the low dose heparin injection and sent me for the doppler and contrast CT of the lungs. It was only then that they realised the severity of my condition, it was clear the heparin wasn't going to help. They sent a cardiologist to do an ultrsound of my heart. It was taking major strain, my heart rate went up as high as 190, but sat around 140. The oxygen saturation at this stage was 65. It was at this time the doctor said to me that he was going to put me on a ventilator as I was getting tired and the breathing more laboured and more ineffective. He also sad they were going to thrombolyse me. Which they did. A few hours later my saturation was 94 on 100%oxygen and my other vitals stabalised. Fortunately, it worked. I also had not major ill effects from it no cerebral haemorrage. I did bleed internally and was covered in bruises. My haemoglobin dropped 4 points in one day but stabilised after that. I was in ICU for 5 days and then in a ward for 3 before I went home. They made sure my INR was at least 2 before I could leave and I continued injecting myself for 6 days after leaving the hospital.

Its now 2 months after the event, I haven't been able to do much. I also have the physical irritation of the achilles tendon which requires physiotherapy and exercise all the time. I haven't been back to work for more than a few hours at a time (I am a pharmacist in private practice). I find that if I do too much in a day I start to feel physically ill, sometimes only the next day. I have flushes, sweats, headaches, palpitations, dizziness and pain in my chest/back. The headaches are very debilitating. Sometimes the medication doesn't work. I do have a shortness of breath but that is not a major problem. The fatigue and dizziness are the worst. I lie down and sleep. It is the only thing that helps.

I have seen my pulmonologist once since I was discharged and he was very happy with my progress, I am seeing him again in 2 weeks. My embolism was huge and cut off the blood supply to both lungs almost entirely. The was a small portion of the left lung right at the top that was getting blood. That is all that kept me alive till I was thrombolysed some 13 hours after the clot hit.

My doctor said it will take two years to feel like I did before I had the clot and two months down the line I can truly believe that.

Thank you for writing this it has been most helpful in understanding the implications both long and short term. I am just going to continue resting and slowly building up my strength.

Steve 6 years ago

Thanks for you write-up on recovering from PEs. I sometimes feel very alone about everything that just happened to me a month ago. Your description of the PE process and treatment is EXACTLY what I just went through.

I have always tended to be busy and goal oriented with lots of daily tasks on my To Do list. I am finding that a month out from my PEs that, aside from the physical slowdowns you mentioned, my mental focus isn't yet what it was.

Thank you for the gift of this web site.

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

Update to those who even read the comments here. A co-worker asked how I was and said he thought I was feeling better because I hadn't talked about my health for eons. I paused to think about it and, yes, I am better! That was a great feeling. I am down to normal things like stomach bugs and sinus infections. The cough is much more manageable now that I am treating my reflux and doing breathing exercises. It has been 1.5 years. You will get there in time as well.

Bridget 6 years ago

Thank you for all the valuable information shared on this site. I too suffered from a DVT in R leg and a PE in ea lung. It is as many said, both mentally and physically exhausting. I am too experiencing some chest pressure, leg pain and anxiety. I had a baby 3mo ago via C-Section and was placed back on Yasmin Birthcontrol. They attribute these factors to the development of my clots. I am 33yr and in basically good shape, so this was a surprise. My R leg began to swell, hurt, and blanched red. Er admitted me for 4 days, dc with Lovenox and Coumadin. One Er visit since for SOB. So far EKG/ECHO wnl. INR levels have been hard to reach and maintain. 10 days out and have pulm appt on Tue. As said above psychological aspect of this is the worst. Praying and trying to be an advocate for my care while being optimistic about the outcomes. Nice to hear I am not alone. THanks to all who wrote comments and to you for creating this site. Bridget

Marie Woods - UK 6 years ago


Thanks for your website. I suffered a PE after my c-section three months ago and I'm on Warfarin. I'm so paranoid that i will clot again. my inr level is 1.8 which should be 2.5 it's been a struggle to reach my therapeutic level. I'm worried about my leg - I have pains constantly since the PE and just tonight I have a small red patch above my knee. I've been to accident and emergency several times now I've had an ultrasound scan one month ago but revealed nothing. My question is If you are on warfarin but your levels are at the correct level can you clot again?

Amber Blecker 6 years ago

Thank you so much for your writings and support. I suffered bilateral PEs 4 days ago after a flight from the US to Australia, and was released from the hospital yesterday with little information about recovery other than when I would be able to fly again. When I got to my hotel and went out to take a short walk, was surprised how little I was able to do without getting winded and having my heart rate spike again. No one mentioned any of that to me. When it happened, it made logical sense to me, but it was very good to read the comments here to better understand that I'll just have to slow it down and expect some other changes ahead as my body heals.

As a lupus and fibromyalgia patient, I've spent the past 12 years learning not what I can't do, but instead how to make the best of what I can and to listen to my body and take care of it when it demands it. I'm going to view my PE the same way. Slow down, rest, take care of myself, but enjoy as much as I can.

Since I'm away from home, I'm remaining on low molecular weight heparin injections until I can return home and start warfarin treatment. I think I'm fortunate in that, as I can't imagine going through the initial phase of warfarin treatment - the testing, the constant adjustments, etc., in a strange city alone and in a hotel. Thankfully the docs took that into account and I have no problem injecting myself.

I appreciate everyone who shared here and brought me some comfort in my symptoms just being a part of the recovery process.

Stephanie P. 6 years ago

I so wish I would have found this article 3 weeks ago!! Thank you so much for taking the time to put this information out there. It has answered a lot of questions that have been on my mind, not to mention has helped me feel like I am not being a 'baby'. I was admitted to the hospital on March 15th, and was in for 5 days. I have clots in both of my lungs and developed pneumonia and my left lung collapsed. I feel very lucky to still be here!! But now that I am home, I have been trying too hard to get back to 'normal' and it's frustrating to me when I get worn out so easily and quickly.. but now after reading your article, I know that it's ok, and it's to be expected and that I just need to be patient. It was not just the 'common cold' as my doctor likes to put it.

Thank you again for this!!

Coleen 6 years ago

I was put in the hospital on March 18,2010 for only 1 nite with the discovery of a pe. I work at a hospital in the materials side so was somewhat familiar with what was going with me. I have been very concerned since returning back to work only 4 hours a day my breathing has become worse and my headache never seems to go away! Reading these comments has helped me out so much I did not know what to expect recovery to be like and now I feel like I'm normal again with all the comments posted.

Lisa 6 years ago

Thanks so much for this. I have a large bilateral PE and have no idea why it happened as am fit, healthy mum of two littlies. Still have pain although have only been home a couple of weeks. I have headaches too and the dr thinks it is a sinus infection. I was told 4 weeks absolute bedrest and all I can think about it when i can exercise but i am so tired all the time.

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

Well, I did an airplane trip sans blood thinners. It was nerve wracking! I stuck to 8 ox gatorade/hr of flight. I also made arrangements with the airline so that I could have a seat with LOTS of leg room. I was able to elevate my feet on the wall in front of me for the duration of the flights.

So far, it has been 2 weeks and no signs of a clot. I think the fear is the main residual effect at this point. Since being off warfarin I feel much better. I am not sure if it is from the warfarin or the Tylenol I used for migraines in lieu of aspirin.

Best wishes to all going through recovery!

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

Lisa - you may want to ask more about the bed rest. Did they ultrasound your legs to ID any other clots? Did they do an echocardiogram? The danger when you have a PE is dislodging more clots and blocking more of your lungs. Once The ultrasound and echo were clear I was allowed up. That was about 4 days or so in. It was small amounts at first and they monitored my ekg as i was in a hospital. If there are no more clots you are good to go in most cases. The ones in your lungs are already in the worst spot. Do some research and maybe your bedrest will end early :)

LORI 6 years ago

My husband just got out of the hospital with a PE and I was looking for info regarding recovery. You are right they discharge you and say you can resume regular activity as tolerated. But no body tells you how tired you could be or how long some of the symptoms will last.He is afraid his employer will not understand the weakness he is experencing. It's alot to absorb even as a spouse, and to realize his limitations for now.Thanks for the info.

Jay 6 years ago

Thank you again. There is so little on the web discussing what to expect when recovering from a PE. I just had my second PE, I am awaiting a hematology consult to find out why. The first was clearly (or presumably) provoked by an ankle surgery following a skiing injury. I had lung clots bilaterally, although I am not sure how extensive they were. I spend a day and half in the hospital and was put on a five or six day course of LMW Heparin (Lovenox) while my INR came up on Coumadin. Since I was recovering from an ankle fracture, my activity level was already low, but I returned to work the first day after discharge, albeit slightly SOB and wiped out -- but really without significant symptoms. My activity level picked up -- I'm an avid bicyclist, and I started riding as tolerated by my ankle, first on a trainer and then on the road. Coumadin makes you pay close attention in traffic.

Anyway, things were going well. I got off Coumadin after 3 months, and wham, PE number two. I had some ankle swelling after a hard ride, but no long plane flights, etc. It turned out to be a symptomless DVT behind my knee that threw a saddle embolus -- I assume a smaller one since I did not die or require heroic measures. In fact, my PFTs and pulse ox and BP all stayed within normal range. I was just way SOB and wiped out feeling. My PCP thought it was asthma -- but because of my history, he did a D-Dimer, which I flunked. Back to the ER, in to the CT (love the mechanical voice "breath"), in to the cardiac ward, more Lovenox, Coumadin. This just happened, so I'm still shooting up. This time around, though, I'm having a lot more residual chest pain and SOB -- and that feeling of dread that just makes things extra scary. I'm back on my feet, just very weak. As soon as my PCP says I'm not spewing clots, I'll be back on my bike, but I think it will take longer to recover this time around. It probably should, since it was a big clot. I anticipate a lifetime of Coumadin, which is the biggest bummer for me right now. It's that two strikes and you're out thing.

IMO, the hardest parts of recovery are emotional. First is the anxiety of self-service medicine: after discharge, you have to make the connection with the PCP (or find one), coagulation clinics, hematologists, pharmacies, health plans, etc. If you don't have a spouse, really good friend, etc., slugging over to the pharmacy to get your Lovenox and Coumadin is a chore (and expensive for something with no narcotic effect!) Everyone sees you for five minutes, and you never get the sense that anyone has a real plan (Maybe that will change for me when I see the hematologist). Second is the sense that you have a timebomb in your chest or calves or wherever and that every ache or pain is that last tick before the big explosion. Your article helps to calm those fears, which is really, really important.

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

I hope that you have an excellent hemo. I love mine! He takes his time and is good at explaining things and laying out the real risk vs benefit. He also is fast to call me back when I have a question. He ran all my blood work so that we could decide if I would be on lifelong anticoagulation. I "passed". I am "only" factor v leiden heterozygous. I am hopping the 2nd clot never comes. I had my 1st non-medicated plane ride a month back. man was I worried! He told me that I would be fine if the flight was under 4 hours. I was. My other pages have info on the types of clotting conditions. I hope that it helps. If you are in Ohio I would be happy to recommend my doc.

Cassondra 6 years ago

I got my exactly on mothers day going on 2 years ago now. I have been overweight my whole life so I know that is, or could be, a reason I got PE but my grandmother died a few years ago due to blood clots so it could also be have genetic thing. When it really hit me I was in the process of loosing weight moved to a small town where there are no local fast foods. I was doing really good I could walk for an hour without my back hurting and stand for awhile before needing to sit down. But now i know I gained the weight back plus some. I took a breathing test and the doc said my lungs were just fine. It's hard for me to exercise get short of breath very quickly but that is probably due to my weight.

Your article gives me hope that I will make it through this. I am 28 yrs old and would like to have my life back and go to theme parks again like I use to. No matter what my mother says I am still young.

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

Cassondra- I would recommend looking into other reasons for being out of breath. Weight likely is one but there are other causes such as Asthma and Vocal Chord Dysfunction. I developed the last after my PE. The breathing exercises and reflux treatment have helped it a lot!

You may want to look into a hematologist. If your gramma had the same thing happen you likely do have the genetics. Make sure that the genetics are something like heterozygous factor V leiden versus one of the more serious clotting conditions. This will help you decide if you want to pursue lifelong anticoagulation. I have chosen not to as FVL is all that I have. I will anticoagulate for pregnancy, surgery, bed rest, or long air flights but not daily unless I re-clot.

John 6 years ago

Thank you for starting this thread and to everyone for sharing their experiences. I am now three months past my PE and was worrying why I wasn't getting fit as fast as I had expected. I can now see that I am following the same path as a lot of other people and that there is nothing wrong with the slower recovery. I have even bought a puppy to encourage me to walk everyday. Good luck to everyone and keep the stories coming John UK

Carlo 6 years ago

Let me add my thank you to the chorus. This is very helpful.

I noticed you mentioned in your entry about stable patients who often are walk-in patients just getting bloodthinners vs. unstable "tending to" come in by ambulance and getting clotbusters. I thought I'd share a little of my experience, which is different. I walked in to the emergency room on my own - waaaay short of breath, true, and on my orders from my primary care doctor, but otherwise not feeling THAT bad. But by the time I had gone through the gamut of tests - the chest x-ray, the CT Scan, the ultrasound, the EKG, it was determined I was extremely unstable and wouldn't have made it if I had waited a couple more hours. In fact, as I laid in the Emergency Room over several hours, my breathing got consistently worse - from able to walk across a room to barely able to make it across a bathroom, to starting to have breathing problems just lying still. I had several large clots, including a saddle embolism (where it sits in that connector area between the lungs - I think). They tell me the saddle embolisms are the worst. They whisked me into surgery (if that's what that was) to administer clotbusters around midnight or so, which they do via a catheter running up a vein in your leg. Over the next couple of days, we had to that two more times. I was actually interested enough to watch the procedure on the camera by the third day - it wasn't that interesting, though. I had to be in ICU until they were done with the last procedure because they left the catheter sheath in my leg. I wasn't allowed to move my leg for 3 days! The ICU nursing staff was fabulous, though. Touch the button and they're there almost immediately, AND with a smile. As soon as they removed the sheath, they approved me to move out of ICU into the step-down unit.

I can tell you from the minute I got back to my room in ICU after the first clot-busting session, I was immediately breathing 100% easier. Almost 100% normal. After the 3rd session, I still had some tiny clots, but that procedure is risky enough they decided to let nature and Coumadin do its job. They released me after 6 days in the hospital. Another 4 days at home (my choice), and I went back to work.

I was in the Emergency Room with chest pains and shortness of breath this past week, so they ran the gamut of tests again. No new clots. Just should have been taking pain medication. So I keep walking the dogs and going to work every day, but I find a wall of exhaustion frequently and have to stop. I go to bed early, sleep late. I have other things I need to do, but I guess it will still be there when I get around to it.

Chris 6 years ago

Thanks so much for a helpful site! I was hospitalized with PE last week. To say the least I was shocked by this diagnosis. I went to ER with rib pain and thought the sob was due to the pain. When they said they were going to chk for blood clots in the lungs I thought that was far fetched! Boy, was I wrong. I have a large clot in my leg that they also discovered. On the blood thinners and am praying the existing clots dissolve on their own. Until reading this site, I was not aware that the pain would continue like this. That oddly gives me some comfort as I am still experiencing it and thought I would at least be some better.

Does the Coumadin create stomach upset for any of you? And can it add to the fatigue or is it only because of the PE?

Jo-Ann 6 years ago

I just came home from the hospital after a 15 day stay due to multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli. I was on bedrest with bathroom priviledges for the first week. Amazingly, even the respirologists didn't realize that my Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia put me at a great risk for PE's, and my hematologist had not warned me about the risk. Not only did I have the PE's, but I ended up with pulmonary infarction and pulmonary effusion, which was extremely painful, so that I had to be on IV Morphine for the pain, as well as the IV Heparin and the oral Coumadin. Lots of fun. I am a 41 year old single mother of two kids, and it has been extremely hard to get back into life with them. I am so tired, and short of breath, and even sneezing causes excruciating pain in my right lung, which still has lots of fluid and dead tissue which has to heal. I will have to be on coumadin for the rest of my life due to the Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia and the high risk of developing PE's again. My respirologist said that if I am still short of breath in 6 months to a year, it could be due to the clots not being dissolved, and I may have to have surgery to remove the clots from my lungs. I really hope that doesn't happen!

I agree that most people do not understand what a life-threatening ordeal having PE's is, and how long the recovery can be. Everyone tells me I look great, but I feel lousy. I know they are trying to be nice, but they don't understand that I feel like I beat the odds by surviving the PE's. My respirologist said that I was incredibly lucky to be alive, there were so many clots.

Yayi 6 years ago


First, thanks for this site; I have been searching for a site telling about the healing and recovery 'after' PE and this one is the only one I have found.

The following is the Saga story of my Bilateral PE:

03/28/2010, Sunday - I slipped from my platform sandals walking to a neighbor’s birthday party. There was a lot of pain but it seemed there was nothing broken. I spent 2-3 hours in the party putting ice on my left foot for the pain. That night the pain increased, so next day I saw my doctor and the x-rays showed 3 small fractures on my left foot (not ankle). The podiatrist checked me, gave me a boot and sent home.

04/01/2010, Thursday - My left foot had a big bruise all around the left side and top. I started coughing and was spitting bloody mucus. The cough was really annoying.

04/04/2010, Sunday - High fever of 102.3 Went to hospital and diagnosis was shortness of breath and acute bronchitis.

04/16/2010, Friday - My left ankle, foot and toes were swollen but there was no increase in pain. The color was a bit on the red/purple side but not that much. The next day all was normal again.

04/26/2010, Monday - On my way home from work about 7:30pm, I felt some minor pain on my left breast and its base that increased if I lay down, so I slept maybe 3-4 hours sitting on my lazy boy chair. The pain was not so much and I really thought it was gas.

04/27/2010, Tuesday - I went to work still with the pain on my left breast. By 1:00pm the pain had increased a little so I talked with someone at work and she referred me to the Workmans Comp clinic which was 5 minutes away.

One co-worker took my car to drive me, but on the way to the WC clinic the pain suddenly Sky-Rocketed and what was 5 minutes commuting seemed to me like hours! When the WC clinic people saw me thru the door, they immediately called 911. Paramedics arrived almost immediately and took me to the closest ER where I was diagnosed with Bilateral Pulmonary Embolism.

By the time I arrived to the ER, the pain was all over my left side of the torso and every breath I took it was like a gigantic saw was cutting across it. Breathing was almost impossible! After diagnosis, they gave me demerol for the pain, injected in my belly anti-coagulants and gave me other oral medications, in addition to oxygen supply.

I spent 5 days in ICU and 5 more in a semi. All this time I had to sleep at an angle because being flat on my back was too painful. I was able to sleep on my right side on my 7th day. I had chest x-rays every day, a ton of blood tests and my arms were the proverbial black and blue from the needles (I have small veins).

Every single doctor, specialist and nurse I met told me how lucky I was since my PE was on both lungs arteries where my left lung was completely clotted and my right lung had only a "trickle" of blood going thru. They say me being alive was short of a miracle!

05/07/2010, Friday - I was discharged from the hospital with orders to follow up with my PCP, rest for at least 2 weeks, have another INR test at 72 hours and keep the coumedin treatment and blood check ups for at least 6 months.

Today (05/20/2010) 2 weeks after my discharge, I still have some of the symptoms that come and go (fatigue, left side pain, sudden cut off of my breathing, cough, etc.) and I still have to sleep at an angle (and not at all on my left side). I was starting to worry until I found this site. Now I feel better since it seems this is part of the recovery path from PE.

I do want to note the reason why I give a detail history of my PE trauma. During my PE research, I have found out that all the symptoms I had prior to the PE full attack are consistent with onset of PE. Persistent coughing, bloody mucus, shortness of breath, swollen bruise areas and such are all hints that clotting may be developing.

In my case, all these symptoms came and went at different times thru a time span of 4 weeks until finally the PE attack fully appeared. I never new or was told to watch for any of these symptoms, and I never worried because they came and went. The only persistent symptom throughout the 4 weeks was the annoying cough which kept me wondering why it wasn't going away.

I also found out that PE is difficult to be diagnosed being this the main reason of most fatalities. I just hope that anyone that reads my story is made aware to watch for any symptom out of the ordinary and consult the PCP promptly, mostly if there has been any type of trauma such as a bone fracture.

Roger 6 years ago

Thanks very much for writing this all up. It has been very helpful for me.

I have been puzzled by my lack of energy and a feeling of sadness. It is good to know that this a normal part of the recovery process. Just that knowledge alone will help me to buck up and do what it takes to recover.

kim 6 years ago

i am so glad i found this. Came back from overseas holiday 17th may 2010 and by the 20th may had terrible pain down right side of body and whenever i breathed pain in chest so i admitted myself by walking into emergency as no doctors had appointments that day.

I am so glad i did as after blood tests and chest x rays and a ct scan - what i at first believed may have been a really bad muscular strain turned out to be a pulmonary embolism on my say i was shocked and scared would have been an understatement.My partner came as soon as he could and as he is a straight talker asked if i could die - doctor said "we all die some day , if it is really bad then it is a possibility"

Well i spent the next 5 days in hospital - same as most of the rest of you , blood tests daily and injections as well as painkillers and warfarin....on the 6th day i was told i could go home (don't get me wrong i was glad to be going ) but at the same time my inr was 1.2 and i had to get it up to 2.3? as well as monitor my pain with the other 5 painkillers i was on and then get my dosage of Warfarin too...just felt anxious about the whole thing really.

Luckily i have nurses to come and help me raise that inr as they have to inject me every day and take blood to ensure my dosage is correct , but hey two days in - 1st day nurse is an hour late , and today my nurse doesn't bring any equipment to take my blood with and i get sent to the local community clinic to get this done!!! I was annoyed beyond belief - i feel that i have this ailment which i feel is very serious but that everyone that is supposed to be my support network/liason with hospital treat it as blasé in turn i get more anxious because they cant get here within an allotted 3 hour period and dont even call to let me know!

maybe i am just over exagerating but my life is important to me - even more so now.

As you say there is nothing on recovery one person told me rest up until the inr is level , another is saying oh no go back to work and i feel that i am not even ready to think about work yet - my job is fairly physical in nature so i certainly dont want to push myself too soon.

your comments are great and have made me feel like i am not alone out there ..thank you so so much

Greg 6 years ago

Thanks for information, it was very informative and interesting reading. To give my story, I started having back pain (felt like a pulled muscle) a little over a week ago. As the pain increased over the next 24 hours I just assume it was sore muscles but conflicting symptoms made me suspect a PE. It was so bad I couldn't lay on my back, I had to sleed on my side. I finally went to a Dr. and told him I suspect a PE and after checking me out he send me for a CAT scan with and without contrast but he didn't think it was a PE. 1 Hour later I got a frantic call telling me I had bilateral PE and should be hospitalize. By this time my symptoms had eased off and the pain killers where dulling the pain so I opted to handle it out-patient. Mine you this was against the Dr's advice. Since my wife is a nurse, we got the levenox injections and she gave them to me twice a day and I took oral Coumadin to get my clotting factors above 2.5 So far this has been working, my factors have gone up and my pain has gone away to the point that I have stopped taking the pain killers.

I even went back to work after getting my first shot...

It seems my experience is not very typical considering all the long hospital stays others have had to go through. Other then fatigue I haven't had any other symptoms.

Now reading this all of you have scared the crap out of me! (GRIN)

We still have to figure out where the clots came from. I guess that is what I get to do next week.

Thanks for listening.

Ashley_smith18 6 years ago

Hey thanks for this write up its been very helpful I am just freshly home from 3 weeks in the hospital with multiple PE in both lungs. its like you said though its good to be home but i am feeling so run down still in a lot of pain n short of breath but its about the same as when I was in hospital. But i dunno when its something to worry about or just recovery and I really dont want to go back. I have to do daily trips to the hospital to get blood taken cause my INR is so up and down they just dont know I have a hemotologist n she did a whole bunch of blood work. The thing that is bothering me the most is im very sore my back, my ribs, my shoulders my chest but they are very sensitive to the touch and it keeping me from sleeping I am up all night and have a hard time lying flat even when i prop myself up im still having a hard time breathing and any suggestions? would be great :)

Joe B. 6 years ago

Hi I had a tumor removed out of right tmporal lobe in feb 2010 went well did my 6 weeks of radiation and temodar for cemo .then on june 4th ended up having to go to emergency room couldn't catch breath legs were swollen could form like a clump of clay right rib felt like broken rib because Ive had one before, stabbing pain had to sit and do pursed breathing leaning over a chair . It was almost uncontrollable . I actually called ambulance and got to hospital . They give me diladin for pain to calm me down .oxygen level was dwon to 84 and blood pressure was erradict . Anyway they did all the test ct scan and ultasound and leg was full of clots . They told me I had to have shots of blood thinner and recommended surgery to put a filter in so I let them . Im on only 2.5 mg at 9pm at night actually he has got me splitting this tablet so only hafl of the 2,5 mg. Im on other stuff for the brain tumor thing such as antconvulsion meds kepprs and dexamethasone he takes my blood every 3rd day right now leg is back to normal . but still have pain in right side and tightness in chest waiting for ct scan to come back tommorow . to copare with on week ago .I thought all pain would be gone they give me methodone for pain aas oxycoton was not workinf to well . Although I have not had to take any the last 4 days . even though still painful not uncontrolable . Gld I found this site . Im 54 ol fella and have to start up manince cemo for 6 months in 3 weeks so hopefully everything will go well.everyone take care .

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

Hi Ashely ~ You asked for some suggestions for the sensitivity. It sounds like that must be really irritating! I didn't have that. You could see if some narcotic painkillers would do the trick. Docs are cautious about prescribing them but maybe some hydrocodone or oxycontin would be what you need. Tylenol is your best bet over the counter and it can affect INR when taken a lot.

As that is about all I can say that is useful, I recommend going over to the pulmonary embolism support group at it was very helpful to me.

Happy2Balivestill 6 years ago

Yes thank you for writing this. I had large, multiple, bi lateral PEs last July 15th 2009. Have been on wafarin since then. It has been a year because I had to have abdominal surgery in Nov 2009 so they wanted me theraputic long enough to be sure. I am supposed to come of the thinners in less than 30 days. I as well am heterozygous for Leiden Factor V. I am happy but nervous as well. Can you talk a bit about how they took you off them? Was it gradual? How did you add green leafies back in? I also saw you spoke of reflux. Was this prior to PE's or only after? Still continuing now that been off meds? I have had horrible reflux and on meds twice a day for the reflux. Thank you so much in advance for the info. Glad to know there are others out there who are lucky and happy to be alive. It's only been a year but I still wake up every day grateful to simply be breathing!

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

There is no taper with warfarin. It just will work its way out of your body. The day I was off I resumed my pre-warfarin diet. I already did have green stuff while on the warfarin. I just was careful about having the same amount every day. That was a pain as I didn't always want a green veggie! But, I wanted to sometimes have some and that was the trade off... all or none.

I have always have had reflux issues but they didn't come to a head until post PE. As a kid I remember yucky tastes in my mouth. As an adult, I periodically have had reflux, especially from migraine meds. After the PE I got a horrid cough. I have had very minor problems with coughing for a few years, but, only in the AM. Post PE I couldn't talk, stand up, or breathe once I started. After a year of many doctors writing it off to post PE paranoia, I found one to listen. He diagnosed the vocal chord dysfunction that is exacerbated by the reflux. I have been on omeprazole now for about 7-8 months. I am much better although allergy season has made the cough worse. I just try to do my breathing exercises and not panic when I am short of breath from bad vocal chords. Hard not to panic when short of breath should have killed me in the past!

From reading, I see no link of reflux to FVL. Migraines might be though. I am still nervous when traveling. I am also nervous about the sinus surgery that I am considering. Every hurtle I overcome in those areas makes me a bit more confident. Not sure my mind will ever forget to wonder though when I travel, when I am short of breath, when the back of my leg hurts... Those fears may keep me alive one day.

Feel free to use the contact me button if you have any more questions. It will short an email in my direction.

Thanks for reading!

Melissa 6 years ago

Thanks for all of your comments. I had abdominal surgery and had some swelling in my right leg but did not think anything of it and it went away after about a week. Little did I know the blood clot had broken off and traveled to my lung. I started to have pain on my left side but thought I had pulled a muscle so I just tried to deal with it for 2 days. It finally got so bad that even with muscle relaxers and vicadin I could barely take a breath without the pain. Thankfully my husband talked me into going to the ER. They told me that I had nultiple clots in both lungs. A PE on the right and a pulmanry infarction on the left. The dr's and nurses could not believe that I walked into the ER. They said that had I not come in they do not think I would have made it through the night. I am a 37 year old woman with 2 young kids and I could not believe that something like this could happen. I was in the hospital for 7 days and am now taking wafarin every day. I really feel pretty good and my doctor said that as long as I take my medicine and get my blood checked when he tells me to the chances of having another PE would be very rare. That made me feel a lot better. It definitely makes me appreciate life so much and truly puts into focus what is really important.

Roger 6 years ago

I am a little further along with my recovery now, so I can say more about it.

First, the event itself. I had severe pain and called my doctor. She told me she could see me in four days. Later that evening the pain was so bad that I went to after hours care at the hospital. They prescribed pain killers and asked me to get a CT scan and blood test on the way out. The CT scan showed three pulmonary embolisms! At that point, they told me to walk over to the Emergency Room, pronto.

I suspect that my description of my pain was not taken seriously at first because I described it as an 8 on a scale of 1-10. Big mistake. I think the trick is to scream 10! at the top of your lungs from the beginning. "The squeaky wheel gets the grease."

Recovery: I am sure that everybody is different but here is my experience. I went through about 4 weeks of feeling tired all the time. After that, I started feeling a lot better. I have tried to do something aerobic nearly every day since, even if it is just a brisk 45 minute walk. The result is that while I am still not at 100% of my previous cardio-vascular capabilities, I am getting better quickly and feeling much better.

The big decision has been whether or not to stay on coumadin for life. I had all the tests run and nothing in particular showed up as a cause of the three embolisms. I guess that is a good thing because some of the possible causes can be pretty scary stuff. The question for me was: if there was no obvious cause, was it necessary to stay on coumadin?

My hemotologist says that since the embolisms presented themselves at three at once, I am 4-8X more likely to have another embolism.

In any event, I am on coumadin for a year to get over what has happened. At the end of that time, I will make a decision about whether to continue or not. I will see how onerous living with coumadin is, but I am leaning towards continuing with it -- that is after initially being pretty skeptical.

As I talk to other people, I find that a lot more people than I ever imagined are on warfarin/coumadin. The trick is to maintain a steady level of vitamin K. I typically eat a fair amount of food that has vitamin K, but I have not found it too hard to keep the level fairly constant. It does not seem to be a big deal.

annieisok 6 years ago

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!! Thanks for putting my mind at ease. I am 40 and on May 19, 2010 I was hospitalized for 5 days with bilateral pulmonary embolisms. Began as shortness of breath on a friday, truly winded by sunday, sharp stabbing pain under left breast by tuesday. But I chalked it up to having asthma, pollen season, congestion maybe I have walking pneumonia. By Wednesday I couldn't take the deep breath to take inhaler and decided after work I will see my dr. Dr. sent me to a Wellness center for ct with contrast that just happened to have and ER. Dr. told me be sure and wait for results. 30 mins later "Ma'am, we need you to step over to the ER dept." ?????????? What's going on? They inform me that I need to be hospitalized and they are calling me an ambulance for transport and which is my preferred hospital? Hospitalized for what???? You have bilateral pulmonary embolisms that require immediate attention. I say OK, how long will it be for the ambulance? They inform me about 30 mins. My response, not truly grasping the magnitude of everything, well hell, my cars outside I can be there quicker than that. And it was the nurses facial reaction when I finally realized I was in trouble. She said- bilateral which means both or two she said pulmonary which means my lungs

she said embolism isn't that clots. Oh dear Lord in heaven, why did I wait so long. They began Heparin drip then. EMT's arrived they read chart and whispered "is she breathing" and I said I can hear you. If that wasn't enough of a wakeup call, got to the hospital and was placed on the geriatric unit due to renovations. On my last day if someone really wasn't trying to tell me something then why was a 42 yr old woman placed in my rm who had a PE with stints put in March got real ill in April called for help Fire dept. told her she had the flu left her. she placed another 911 call only to have had a clot travel to her brain and is learning to walk and use her hands again. So the shortness of breath I have, the pain that I feel, the headaches, the fatigue, the tension in my neck from struggling to breath I will take it and say THANK YOU I am still here. What doesn't kill us just makes us stronger. I still cry every now and then because I dont know if I am going forwards or backwards sometimes. But after reading all of your wonderful posts I believe I am headed in the right direction. It is all in the course of healing.

leoism101 6 years ago

Hello all & thank you for creating this informative page!

My daughter was 20 when she was finally diagnosed with multiple PE's in both lungs,near pulmonary artery with infarction's. It is now 2.5 years later and we are looking for answers and a pain free life for her.

The hospital was a nightmare, so I will save you those details. She was on a blood thinners study drug (pill) for 3-4 months after being diagnosed. Then her gall bladder was removed. We were told it would take a year before she felt "normal". Now 2.5 yrs later she still had intense chest pain, shortness of breath, easily tired with any physical activity, frequent migraines, bruises VERY easily, this has all lead to depression as no one can provide any answers. Her primary Dr thinks its pulmonary hypertension, the pulmonologist thought it was lung disease, then hypertension (but no testing done specifically for it), exercise induced asthma and now he says it's either her weight or an unexplained pain she will have to live with. We are now looking for a pulmonologist that specializes in hypertension only 23 of 430 w/in 30 miles of us). A friend found that PE's can cause, or bring on Lupus, so I will get her tested for that as symptoms are similar. I just wanted to see if there is anyone in a similar boat?? It kills me to see my daughter in pain, potential of loosing her job as the Dr will not limit her duties without having a diagnosis, I mean, she cannot even take the dog for a walk! I would really appreciate any help! I am not looking for sympathy, but answers.

May you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

That sounds very frustrating. I would definitely try for more opinions from more places. I think that a few hospitals now have thrombosis specialty centers. You may want to look for one and see what they say.

It took a lot of pushing for my vocal chord dysfunction to be found. I know it can be heart wrenching and frustrating!

I would go over to and see if there are people who might have some additional information for you.

xikum 6 years ago

Thank you sooo much for having this site!! I am nearly 1 year (July 9th) post total knee and resultant PE, one relatively small one in one area, and lots ot little, tiny ones throughout both lungs. Fatigue and shortness of breath are the 2 things that I am still dealing with - I am so utterly frustrated and tired of simply getting tired so easily, and no one of the doctors said anything about it being like this. I was wondering what kind of wimp I was, what was wrong with me that I feel this way... It is a godsend to find that this is normal for so many people after PEs, and also when taking warfarin. I was on that for the first 6 months only, and was so totally drained, it was all I could do to get through work and come home to collapse in bed. Now, I am doing things around the house, but just so little, seems to take so much effort and tires me out unreasonably, but after rest I can go back to do more, just not so productive as before.

I so wish I had found this site earlier. What a relief to read! I am so grateful to find it now - I can see it is OK to just accept myself and continue to work on slowly building my endurance.

Dr Najib Nabulsi 6 years ago

Really I enjoyed this comprehensive valuable medical was so useful to me as a recent patient.Actually, I'm a 55 year old male, weight=115 kg,hight=190 cm, a consultant Physiatrist( a physician in physical mediicne and rehabiltation for the last 10 years), I never smoke in my life and I didn't drink alcohol..On the 10th June around 6 30 am, I presented to ER at the hospital where I'm working, and I talked to my ER colleagues that I have DVT at my left leg, so please call our radiologist immediately for urgent dopplar Ultrasound , they said OK, BUT I called him via my mobile as he was living next door, he came within 10 mints, the ER nurse said; would u like to go walking or on a wheelchair to Radiology as they are waiting for you there,I said please push me while on ER examination bed to Radiology, there, they did the Dopplar US , EXTENSIVE DVT at left lower limb was reported...Immmediately, I was admitted under internal medicine consultant who started me on CLEXAN 100 MG TWICE DAILLY,heamatologist and vascular surgeon were consulted. Next daY they did blood tests and pelvis, abdomen and chest CT WITH showed patent common femoralvein thrombus, iliac vein was free, but there were two patent pulmonary embolisms. Blood tests showed positive didimer and factor five leiden and moderately elevated homocystein.Cardiac Echoo was normal.On the second day of admission, the vascular surgeon suggested an invasive interventional procedure; temporay filter fitting and catheter introduction to do thrombolytic therapy for DVT at left leg,this procedure wasto performed by an interventional radiologist, I refused to go with...and I choosed to go with traditional medical treatment.I stayed at hospital for a week until my INR 2.8; as they stated me on warfarin on 3rd day of clexan.They gave me 2 weeks sick leave. First few days at home, I used to have left below knee pain mostly when standing up, now pain much less, but still at home and dong very short shopping at near by mini mall.Sure, just before stepping out of bed I PUT MY BELOW KNEE ELASTIC STOCKINGS.

My questions: did I took the right dicision on refusing the thrombolytic therapy?

when I can resume exercising, as my PE was A SYMPTOMATIC,AND what kind of exercise Ican resume? swimming? walking?aerobics?

For warfarin, they said to be on for 2 years, other authoraties adviced for life so what do u think?

I hope u r doing well now and I'm so happy to share my recent experience with you..

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

I have seen studies showing good results with the thrombolytic therapy for DVT. If you had no major complications during the treatment then it was good. Many are hesitant to do it due to the risk of severe bleeding while the procedure is being done.

Ask your doctor about resuming exercise. For me, I was told I could do whatever I could manage when I got home. I took up 5-10 minute walks to try to regain my stamina. I did not have clots in my legs so your situation is different.

I was on the warfarin for 1 year. Typical is 6 months-1 year. Some people are on it for life. I chose the risk of re-clotting and came off of it. My hematologist felt my risk was fairly low.

Dr Najib Walid Nabulsi 6 years ago

Thank you for your comments, I think what pushed me to reject the thrombolytic therapy are tow reasons; first the probability of bleeding and the availabilitiy of skilled hands ( I mean a question should be raised to interventional radiologist; how many thrombolytic therapy procedures you are doing a week? a month?

For activities, I have just started easy swimming last Thursday.....

Anthor question; is it true that Pulmonary embolism associated with factor 5 leiden could occur again any time with no precipitating reasons like sitting for long time ( driving or long distant flight),although I'm on Warfarin(comodin) and INR is constantly 2.3

Jill 6 years ago

I find it amazing how many people have had PEs... it seemed so foreign to me when I was diagnosed in January. I had bilateral PE and was in hospital for 5 days. I did Lovenox for a week at home, then Coumadin for 6 months. I have been off coumadin for about one month and love that I am off of it, as I hated the side effects. However, I am trying to decide if I should call my dr regarding a pain in my left chest, below my breast, approximately where the pain was initially. I do not have SOB, but the pain is rather a dull ache that started a few weeks ago, and I really noticed it while flying this weekend. Is it a normal, residual side effect, or is it something I need to alert the dr about? I do not want to appear paranoid and like a hypochondriac... maybe its nothing. Have others had this pain once off coumadin, and what is it?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

It is true that you can get a PE with no "apparent" reason like sitting. The glue in our blood sticks together very easily when it sits still. Also, I am sure that we don't know all of the things that can cause clots. Everyone's blood clots a little when not moving. Ours can clot a lot. Some people even clot on warfarin.

So, the summary is... yes, you may clot. But, if you have good clot prevention hygiene the risk drops significantly. It will never go away 100% - even if you didn't have FVL.

Jill - I would talk to a Dr. If it is still there, a CT scan would put your mind at ease and maybe prevent a catastrophe. I went to the ER 2 times post clot. I was fine. It is true some Drs label you as paranoid due to the PE, but, it is worth it to be at least somewhat more cautious than you would have been before.

If you had pain with the PE it may be residual. I had pain during recovery even though I had none during the PE. It was in a spot similar to what you describe. I was happy to have the CT done though. I have no clue what it was... I think muscular but that is all I think I will ever know.

Go figure :)

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Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

As of July 18 2010 it has been 2 years since my hospital admission. I have been clot free. It also has been near a year without Coumadin.

najib nabulsi 6 years ago

2 weeks ago I adviced my daughter ; who is recently got married and she planning to be pregnant , to do blood test for Factor 5 leiden as far as I already has it. She called me last week with a positive pregnancy test result. She put me on line with the lab tech to ask for factor 5 leiden. 2 days later she called me with tears; dad the result for factor 5 leiden is positive. I called my hematologist and he adviced to start her on daily BABY ASPRIN, and CLEXAN 20 MG SUBCUT FOR THE FIRST 3 MONTHS , THEN TO BE 40 MG TILL THE END OF PREGNANCY, this will make pregnancy safe and successful.

Anyhow she will see her obstitrecian and discuss the issue with him.

Samantha  6 years ago

Thank you so much for setting up this website. Its been a god-send to me. I have just got out of hospital after 3 weeks (3 days in ER) after suffering several PEs, pluresy, pneumonia and water on the lung (apparently all normal with a PE). All this came out of the blue with no previous warning, no DVT was found, I don´t take oral contraceptives, don´t smoke, am very fit (I lived in the gym until this happened). Whilst the treatment has been first class during my hospitalisation, I found all the pulmonary doctors I´ve been seeing, really are very much in the dark about recovery symptoms and recovery times. I am suffering fatigue to the point of feeling flu-like, I am still experiencing terrific stabbing pains in my chest sometimes in my left side (which was worst affected) and in my heart (which luckily has shown no signs of being affected), but worst of all I still have difficulty breathing and a feeling of bubbling deep inside my left lung which only I can hear/feel. The breathlessness and coughing up mucus (clear) doesn´t seem to be going away despite all my deep breathing exercises. I find I can´t talk sometimes (devastating for me) and I certainly can´t talk and climb the stairs at the same time. I realise its early days but its so frustrating and scary. I keep going back to the hospital for checks but they say everything is looking good and that I have 80% of my lung capacity back (90% onwards is what they are aiming for). I know I am lucky to be alive but I am scared I might be stuck with this "gasping for air" for the rest of my life. (ok, its a small price to pay I suppose in the light of what could have been) but still....The doctor offered me an asthma spray but I am allergic to salbutymol (apparently this is rare) so as all sprays are based on this I can´t have anything. I have been on Marcumar (warferin) for the last 15 days and have had a period for that long too!! (pneumologist said that´s not normal so this means another trip to another doctor). I feel a mess but so glad to have found this website. Thank you again so much.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

On the breathing and asthma meds... wow. Sounds like what I did! See about breathing exercises from a speech language pathologist. I have learned those for my vocal chord dysfunction and they help me have deep, orderly breathing while climbing stairs, being physical, talking... You may want to look into vocal chord dysfunction. I had that discovered by an ENT that my pulmonologist sent me to.

I am off all meds for breathing minus the rare need for a cough medicine.

For the period. Warfarin does cause heavier bleeding in some women. I was one of them. I really had to watch myself on my period. I wasn't at all used to that. I am not sure what is normal for warfarin but it is a different standard than for people no on warfarin.

It took about 1.5 years for me to be back close to pre PE. Either I am there these days or it has been so long that some of the fatigue has become normal. Either way... other than the psychological stuff, I am in pretty good shape now. It took a long time though. I knew that I was better when time started to have meaning again.

Yayi 6 years ago

Hello, everyone.

I can see there are even more people accessing this site, which I personally think is God-sent! Thanks very much to all for your input and support.

It is been two months since I wrote about my experience. I was getting much better until the week before the 4th of July when the pain on my left lung started again (from under my left breast all the way thru the back). Now it almost feels as it was after I left the hospital with the strong pain and shortness of breath.

I went to the Dr and he gave me some anti-inflammatory gel to massage and a ct scan. I have an appointment for the ct scan results next week. The gel was helping with the pain but I had to stop it because an inch bruise spot appear which scared me! It just happens the only place I get a bruise is exactly on the area I am putting a gel over the lung I had the infarction!?!? I only hope this is only paranoia.

The thing is I have no idea why the pain and rest came back! I still did have some symptoms prior, but I really thought I was recuperating; the symptoms were bearable with some minor spikes now and then. What did I do? Shouldn’t I be going forward instead of backwards? Or at least be stable? I am taking the warfarin daily and the monthly INR is 2.2 Has anyone have this happened where the symptoms came back with no apparent reason?

I appreciate any input. Again, thanks everyone for the support of this site.

rosanne 6 years ago

I'm so glad that I found this site.I fractured my left tibia at work on Feb 17, 2010.This was not diagnosed for 10 days because workmans comp was in charge of making appts for me. Turns out I had severe bruising in the bones of my knee,a tear of my miniscus and a fractured tibia(plateau).I was told to wear a knee immobilizer at all times when I wasnt in bed or bathing.About a week later I asked the ortho why my leg was so cold and he replied it had nothing to do with the fracture.I was sent back to work the next day in a wheel chair and wearing the immobilizer for 8 hour shifts.By the end of the week my calf was hard, swollen and very painful.Two days later I went back to work with the same discomfort in my calf but also short of breath.The next day I went to the ER by my orthos advice.I had a dvt in my leg.I was admitted and put on heperin and released 4 days later.I gave myself Lovinox injections twice daily and was taking coumadin.A few days later I felt a sensation in my heart that felt like it dropped and immediately my heart was beating very fast and I was short of breath.I went to the ER where I waited 45 mins before someone decided they had better take my blood pressure and pulse rate and took me right away.The ER doctor on duty said he really didnt think it had anything to do with the recent dvt and that it was probably an anxiety attack.They finally gave me a medication that stopped my heart so it could start beating at more more normally.It had been at 180bpm.It turns out I had thrown a large clot that went through my heart.The labs reported that my results were nontherapuetic and I was admitted and put on arixtra and had a vena cava filter put in and was released 5 days later.4 days after being home and really feeling lousy I realized I had pain in my groin and was rehospitalized for what was thought to be an infection in a lymph node.The lymph node was removed.I was released the 2 days later with a fever and feeling sick.The hospitalist said he didn't want anything else to happen so I should go home.2 days later there was redness,swelling,fever and the incission site was leaking.I went back to the ER at the advice of the surgeon who removed the lymph node.I was readmitted with a bad infection in the tissue.I was put on a cocktail of three antibiotics.After 3 more weeks at home on antibiotics, pain killers and arixtra the surgeon began debriding my incission over 4 weekly visits.It was determined that the infection was caused due to the placement of the vena cava filter.The groin area did heal nicely and the pt has helped somewhat but the heart palpitations and angina and high blood pressure continue even with medications to treat them.I will be on a blood thinner for the rest of my lifeand the filter will stay in permanantly.I still have to have surgery for the torn miniscus and will have to be off of the blood thinner for a short time.Like everyone else, I tire easily and I know I'm much better than I was but I am a totally different person now.I can't imagine ever being able to accomplish a whole days work.

Tony 6 years ago

Hello to you all,

Just arrived home from hospital after being on my back for 8 days with a DVT above the knee and pulminary embolisms in both lungs.

My problem is hereditary, having started with my grandfather, then to my mother, then to me and now my daughter.

My daughter has also just been discharged from hospital with PE's. Hard to believe I know, but that's our family - always trying to outdo the others! We phoned each other from our respective hospitals and swapped notes.

I train very heavily in the gym and in martial arts and it is not uncommon for me to run 20 km's per week, along with heavy weight sessions etc etc. Obviously DVT's and PE's don't discriminate!

We are about to see a blood specialist to sort things out, so I will post a further comment as soon as this occurs.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

I have seen some notes that studies show that high caliber athletes are at a greater risk than the typical population.

I have one known family member with FVL like myself. I am guessing from that person that my mom has it as well. She has never had a clot while her cousin and I have.

That must be hard to have 2 of you out with this stuff! My mom was a life line for me when I had mine. I would have been in trouble without her!

Jasmine 6 years ago

Hello I had a myomectomy 5 years ago and the day after the nurse noticed that I was breathing fast and my pulse was racing. I was up walking around and I figured that was the reason but nope I had PE. I had no idea how serious it was but I am so glad that the nurses paid attention to me and that saved my life. I am now struggling with breathing issues. I thought it was asthma but the tests didnt show anything. Now because of you, I realize that is has to be from the PE that I had. I was on warfarin for 9 or 10 months. It was so scary after I left the hospital a week after my surgery. Fear of bleeding too much, of throwing a clot again...I was so scared but I made it through. There isn't a lot about this and it is scary because people don't know what to expect. I have to say that at my 6 week check up with my OBGYN he told me that a man that had surgery the same day as me died of his PE. God was looking out for me. Thank you for this information. Thank you so much.

Samantha 6 years ago

Many thanks for your response to my previous comments 2 weeks ago. It has been a great help. I was readmitted to hospital this past week because my throat felt like it was closing up and pulsating. I felt I wasn´t getting any air and I had pain in my heart and trachea. After checking for more PEs, which luckily they didn´t find, I had to have a gastroscopy and was told I had laryingitis! (They also managed to break my little finger when they wheeled me back to my room- more pain!) On the basis of your remarks I have now made an apt with my ENT and will tell him about VCD.

I am now at home again trying to find reasons why this happened so it won´t happen again. The only thing I can come up with was 2 weeks before I had the PEs attack, I damaged my knees up in the gym. When I went to the orthopaedic doctor, I was told I had worn down cartilage and it was nothing serious, despite the swelling. Following a CT, it now transpires I have completely ripped through the miniscus in both knees. (Having read Rosanne´s entry I wonder now if this caused the PEs, together with a long car journey from Germany to England.

I am feeling so sorry for myself at the moment and panic at the slightest twinge, its awful. I guess the pyschological bit has now caught me up because until recently it was all like a film or a TV medical soap!

I also want to exercise but its not easy with painful knees, throat, lungs, heart and now the finger. I tried doing gentle pilates but found I can´t lie down flat because my heart area starts hurting (although no damage was found). It also means I can only sleep in a slanted or sitting position. All this since the PEs. Maybe I should go into hybernation for a year!

Your website, though, has been a god-send and so reassuring. I realise that I am not alone and that my symptoms are on a par with everyone else (but so sorry to see so many of us going through it). Still, as you so rightly point out, life does go on and it does get better. Thank you again so much for all the support. and info.

Samantha 6 years ago

PS. I also had a really heavy period which lasted 20 days due to the Marcumar (warfarin) tablets. A tip for all others who may have this problem, my gynocologist advised putting an ice pack on my lower abdomen (wrapped in a cloth). I did this and the bleeding stopped immediately!

He did say though that its not a good idea if you have cramps because cold makes it worse.

Lena 6 years ago

I am 4 months past my PE discovery. Have been on Coumadin since April 28, 2010. I have really good days but then get struck down for a week or two. Chest pains, shortness or breath, joint, bone and muscle pain. I have tried light work outs at the gym - I used to go to the gym 4-6 times a week and NEVER even thought I wouldn't get to or struggle with a very light workout.

I was put on Seasonique for having out of control periods every 2 weeks. 70 days later, I am hospitalized with blood clots throughout my body and several in my lungs. My periods have come back and yes, the coumadin makes them a little worse.

Don't use a heating pad or ice pack for pain... both affect this condition.

I am glad you wrote this. I just want my life back. I want to go hiking with my son and dog. I want to fly to visit my daughter at college. I want to have my brain not be clouded and actually perform at my best at work. I only took 3 weeks off... they wanted me to file temp disability... but as a single mom, you do what you have to and I have to work.

Good luck to everyone who suffers from this.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author


What a great name! You even spell it the same as myself.

You may be able to explore other hormone options for your periods. May being the key word. There is a lot of debate about what is safe. NATT's newsletter on women's health states that they may be fine for women on warfarin. Also, some feel that Mirena is a low, localized, progesterone only dose and is fine.

There are also uterine ablation options if you no longer plan to have children.

Granted, you had clots so quickly that you may reconsider, but, you also were on a newer contraceptive pill. They have had a bad track record.

Your brain will clear. at the 1.5 year mark I realized that I had regained my sense of time. I think I still may have a slight loss from the ordeal but for the most part am back where I was. In some ways, I am better.

Coumadin affected my cycles immensely. I barely have them off of it. When I was on it, I was timing my bathroom trips and carrying stuff at all times. With just the IUD I am slightly heavier but not by much. My cramps were also MUCH worse on the coumadin. No clue why on that.

Best wishes!

JLB 6 years ago

Thank you so much for the sharing, it is the best site with information re PE I read so far. It tells me a lot about the recovery process which is the information I am searching for. I wonder whether you know anything about how fast the patient can take flight again after PE. All the best to your recovery.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

I was told I could fly at any time after. You will want to double check. The main concern with flying of course is the creation of additional clots. If you are on a blood thinner you should be fine. Make sure that your warfarin INR is in range before leaving if you are on warfarin. If the INR is not OK, ask for Lovenox to shoot yourself with before your flights. If you are not on a blood thinner you may consider Lovenox just for the flights. I was told if a flight is under 4 hours in one chunk, I will be fine without the Lovenox. If it is over, I will need it. I now plan layovers throughout my trips. Also, pack powdered gatorade and reconstitute it with water you can buy after you pass through security. 8 ounces for every hour you fly is your goal. You can ask for special disability boarding. I pre-board on southwest to ensure I have an aisle seat, preferably the one behind the door with a wall in front (there is room to have straight legs). Also, do leg exercises during the flight and stand up 1x an hour.

I have flown 2x since the clots and it is still nerve wracking but I have been fine.

Ironically, i just posted a new article on air travel today:

Ian T 6 years ago

While I don't get pleasure from the discomfort of others, I do enjoy hearing the stories of others who are going through what I am. I'm happy for you for all the ways you are managing with what has happened. It gives me, and I'm sure many other PE survivors hope. I am now 15 months out from my PE. I'm still on warfarin therapy, and have had strong chest pain return on a few occasions since my initial diagnosis. I try to work through my symptoms logically, and I find this helps me cope the best. If I just get a cramp, but I'm still breathing fine, my pulse isn't racing, and I otherwise feel ok, than I've learned to just tough it out. Good or bad, I've been to the ER about 10 times since, and I need to stop.

carole p 6 years ago

My husband was diagnosed with PE one month ago. This was 4 days after a diagnoses of stomach cancer. The stomach cancer is on hold because of the PE. One liter of light orange fluid was removed from one lung-no cancer cells. He sleeps alot but I have him walk through the house a short way once every hour. He had a filter put in to stop further clots coming from the legs. It has been a real nightmare and a gigantic roller coaster ride. My husband is 78. I pray alot.

Denise Passmore 6 years ago

I have been out of the hospital for 2 weeks and plan to start back to work next week parttime. I have breast cancer and the clots were related to the cancer. I am very fearful of doing anything and do not feel that anyone gave me good information about what I should do to get well. This spot has contained the best information I have found and I think all of you who have posted. I am currently on chemo so it is sometimes difficult to figure out what is chemo related and what is from the PEs.


Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

I understand that cancer often can cause clots. Chemo would also confuse things as some forms of chemo can cause a myriad of side effects. I would say, don't be afraid. Sitting still is the worst thing you can do, everything else may help you. Keep moving and enjoy. I know it may be a struggle at times due to everything. If you can, get counseling. You have to have a lot going on and an extra soul to lean on may help.

Danielle 6 years ago

Thank you so much for writing this article. I continue to try to educate myself following my recent diagnosis with a PE following a DVT in my leg. I feel like the Doctors left me completely in the dark!

I am now 3 weeks post PE. I went to A and E at 4am and released at 7pm on the same day with my heparin injections. I was back at work a day later. I was given no advice on bed rest or excersize. No scans of my legs so I do not know whether I still have any clots that may be dislodged although I had to go for an ultra sound to check I had nothing that could cause pressure against my abdominal blood supply.

I am getting married abroad in 3 weeks (only a 2 hour flight so I am told this is ok?) but I have stopped working out and feel like all the hard work I put into loosing weight for the wedding is lost and I am wondering whether I should be putting off our honeymoon which is scheduled for December and which means a 10 hour flight.

My greatest concern is having children. We were planning on starting a family in the new year. We have been looking forward to this for 3 years now and now I am going to have to wait till the treatment is over sometime in March, then another 6 weeks for the warfarin to leave my system, and even then I am worried whether it is safe. It just seems to be the worse possible timing! I noticed you said "when" you have children...and now you are 2 years post treatment. I don't suppose you've since been pregnant or have received any more advice on pregnancy?

Thanks again.


Scott 6 years ago

I too greatly appreciate this site. This is my 2 month anniversary from when I suffered an acute PE with small infarction. I felt sore in my left shoulder for most of the day and did some yard work. Afterwards, I was extremely tired and took a midday nap for over 2 hours (very rare) and when I woke up began to cough up small amounts of blood. I called the nurse and had an appointment made for 3 days later. I woke up later that same night in severe 10 pain at 1:00am after sleeping on the side that wasn't feeling the pain. Sleeping on my bad side or back was way too painful. I drove myself into the ER and after 4 hours and a CT scan with liquid, they diagnosed me with bruised ribs even though I didn't have any traumatic experience, gave me some Hydrocodene and sent me home. I didn't feel good, but at least the pain reduced down to a 7-8 and by the next day after some sleep was a 5.

I made it to my doctor's appointment and was still coughing up some small amounts of blood contiously. The doctor ordered a CT scan with dye and made me do it that day. They then found the PE and immediately sent me to the hospital for the next 2 days. I had the blood tests run first, then the shots of Lovenox and Warfarin pills before they sent me home once they say my blood/ox was 97% or better and I was at a good INR level.

Two months later, I've come off the hydrocodene and am experiencing consistent pain in my left chest. After reading this article, I realize it is quite common to be feeling this way. I also experience anxiety, depression, and nausea. About a month after the PE, my wife gave birth to our second child. At times, I feel very overwhelmed at taking care of our children. I've really been touched by all the comments on this site and realize now just how lucky I am to be alive and be able to care for my children and my family.

How have other people who have a PE dealt with taking care of small children?

Ronald 6 years ago

I am thankful I found this site. I am, was, and will be again, a healthy 43 year old with endless energy. One week ago on this night I drove myself and my wife to the ermergency room. While sitting on the couch, watching tv, my left shoulder began to throb. The pain kept increasing to the point it was affecing my breathing. I began stretching thinking I might have injured it somehow. When I laid on my back the pain intensified. If I took a deep breath I could feel pain in my chest, abdomen shoulder and back. My intuition has always been strong in regards to my body. I used to train for years as a cyclist. Of course the idea of going to the hospital seemed silly for a sore shoulder that could be attributed to anything. I even called two of my friends to get their opinions. Still, not convinced, I began searching for answers on the internet. What I found scared the crap out of me... literally. It would be my last visit for that endeavor for 5 days. I told my wife that something isn't right so we got in the car and left. In the emergency room they discovered that my ekg was slightly abnormal but maybe, for me, that was normal. I could hear the doctors discussing my case. I'll never forget it. One doctor said that he is 99% sure it is nothing but he did not want to be 1% wrong. Off to the CT I went. By this time I was receiving oxygen, a drip, blood tests, xray, nitroglycerin and morphine. I was still joking the entire time and that I was wasting everyone's time. I actually felt embarrassed. One of the nurses came in and said they were getting a room ready for me. I asked how the CT turned out. He said not good. You have pulmonary embolism. There are multiple clots in both lungs.

The realizaton: Act 1 - Tragedy. The emotions I concealed were horrific. My first few hours in my new room were, what I would describe, terrifying. I had just been given morphine and started falling asleep around 6am. At 6:20 my shoulder pain hit with a veangence. I hit the nurse button and waited 10 minutes and hit it again. I was nice the first time. This time I said in very general terms that my pain is going to cause problems for more than just me if you don't get someone in here. Soon there were two nurses that helped me sit up on the side of the bed. I was shaking and my breathing became intense and labored. I felt like I was having a panic attack. I've never had one before but it is the closest thing I can compare it too. More morphine came and I eventually fell asleep for 20 minutes before all the tests began.

The next day consisted of ultrasounds of heart and legs. Both of which were clean and healthy. Thank God. The usual treatments along with antibiotics became the norm.

On day 3 a new nurse asked if I had been exercising? I didn't know I was suppose to. How strange? So, I got out of bed and began walking. After 5 laps (600 feet per lap) the nurse stopped me and said your heart rate is ok but don't push it. After the next lap she pulled my aside and took me back to the room. I would have kept going until I passed out. I was determined to not let this get me.

Hope: Act Two - Determination On day 5 I felt like exercising. During my previous walk my wife joined me. This time I asked her to wait for me. I had a tempo in mind and a number to get to. I began walking in the usual clockwise route of the floor. My tempo for the first couple of laps were moderately brisk. Laps 3 thru 15 were very brisk. Each lap I would pass by nurses, doctors and one or two patients. I would hear coments like, why are you here... go home... way to go... how far are you going? After 15 laps I slowed way down for my 5 remaining cool down laps. After 2.25 miles I thought what a fantastic accomplishment for me. I was released that evening.

Act Three: Doubt It was so nice to get to familiar settings. I had a laundry list of items to take care of. My list of meds to get filled were rediculous! The next day I slept in. After all I am supposed to be getting rest. Instead I entered a world of chaos trying to get my meds filled. Eventually everything worked out. You'll notice I didn't get in to the details because I want to keep my blood pressure down! I began to feel fairly normal until I began playing my drums. It's been a passion of mine for most of my life. I love playing to songs and enjoy the low impact for my sore back. I quickly realized that I barely made it through one song before my body shut down - physically and metally. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. Between the meds, fatigue and having to inject myself twice a day I began feeling depressed. Everytime I looked at the Lovenox box my heart sunk. I started thinking about all the things that could have attributed to my condition. Was God punishing me? Am I being tested? Did I do something stupid? I began looking to the internet for answers as well as opening up to family and friends. I knew, inside, something was very wrong but felt like it was perceived as a bad cold. There was so much information missing on the subject matter.

Act Four: Hope - Today I found this site and read everyone's story. I suddenly felt more peaceful. I actually played my drums for two hours today. Again, a tempo and number was the focus and goal. Of course, I would pay for it later being extremely fatigued. My chest still feels heavy and the sore back and abdomen is slighty present. My heart rate is a little higher than it should be but my blood pressure is really good. I know there will be ups and downs with little warning. That's ok. I will beat this. I am in control of my body, for the most part, and will do everything I need to put this condition to rest. Thanks for reading. Ronald

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 6 years ago from USA Author

On having kids...

When you are ready, go for it. Get a hematologist and a high risk OBGYN. They will make sure that you get the right medications to stay clot free throughout the pregnancy. Heparin and low molecular weight heparins will likely be used to keep you safe and prevent a miscarriage due to clotting. You will take that throughout the pregnancy and then you will continue for a time after the pregnancy. I have not been or tried to be pregnant. I have been faced more with what to do to prevent pregnancy as I can't use hormones. Check out to see more about that topic.

As for raising kids after a PE...

There are multitudes of people who have done this. Why? Well, because women are at a very high risk for a PE and other clots during pregnancy as well as postpartum. Use whatever supports you can find. Friends, family, a work EAP plan... It will be stressful as both kids and recovery are exhausting. Focus on the miracle of the baby and make your daily goal surviving. You will get to the end at some point. You may want to join one of the support groups mentioned throughout my sites. I am sure that you can find someone who shares your experiences there.

Jennifer 6 years ago

It has been 1 year since my pulmonary embolism. I went to the emergency room after 5 days of shortness of breath and the worst pain in my rib. I thought I had broken a rib somehow! Little did I know one of my lungs was almost completely full of blood clots and my other lung was partially filled. I am convinced if I hadn't gone to the ER that night I would have not lasted much longer. I remember sitting there crying, thinking of my teenage daughter and everything I would miss. The ER doctor said to me "We know what it is, you are going to be okay now." I found out 3 months later from my hematologist that a clot had also been very close to my heart, I'm glad I didn't know that earlier. A CT scan in February showed no damage to my lungs or my heart. I have tested negative for clotting disorders, my pe was not a result of surgery or travel, it just seems to have happened. I have now been off the Coumadin for 6 months. After all this time I still have days that I feel tired and weak and every twinge of discomfort scares me. But I know being alive is a gift, and I am thankful everyday. I just saw my only child off to college last week, I cried just being thankful that I saw the day. Everyone keep your head up, it does get better, we are all survivors. Thank you, Lena, for the information you are providing, what a wonderful thing you are doing!

dave, scotland 6 years ago

as others have said, many thanks for sharing experiences. like some i have been an active and healthy guy, 57 yrs old. difficulties getting diagnosis, but eventually multiple blood clots in left leg found by doppler scan, 30.4.10. Clexane and warfarin together for 14 days, and since then warfarin alone (11.5 mg per day) to maintain INR between 2.6 and 3.2. Recovered well in May, what I now call the acute phase, but since June as I became more active, have repeated problems with breathlessness and fatigue - I now call this the chronic phase. For the last 3 months I thought these were a side-effect of the warfarin, although it is not mentioned as such in patient literature, and 2 doctors have not taken my comments seriously. ONLY in the last couple of days have I now realised I probably have PE as well: next GP visit on Wednesday, so I will push for CT scan minimum. My job involves a fair bit of driving and physical activity which I can only manage for 2-3 hours per day. I'm not much into computers so finding this is a real godsend to me: I had been talking to my wife about setting up the "6 o'clock club" (in the UK we all take our warfarin at 6 pm!), but there's no point, since you have already done it! Once again, many thanks and just do your best!

david, texas 6 years ago

thank you so much for all the information. i was sick for 3 months and in july they finally found over a dozen clots in my lungs. said it was caused from my knee replacement. it is now sept and i am sick again - scared about going back to the hospital for another long stay. i appreciate knowing i am not the only person in the world with this and understnading why i am so tired all the time. thank you

Marita, Vic, Australia 6 years ago

Thankyou so much. Finally, some information that makes sense. I'm 46, mum of 5, about to marry my partner of 27 years. Had to postpone the wedding. 2 weeks ago went to ED on my local GP's orders. Thank God he is such an astute doctor. I thought it was asthma - I had a similar experience exactly a year ago (well, I thought it was similar), but the asthma meds this time weren't working. He ran a di-dimer test, well, the rest speaks for itself. I have 'numerous' clots in my lower right lung and 'some' in my lower left lung. I really thought I was going to be ok for the 10th of the 10th - our wedding day. Luckily for us, my other half realised before I did that it just wasn't going to happen, and we've now made alternate arrangements for next month. I'm so tired of being tired....and not being able to get a straight answer about 'what's normal and what's not' has added to the anxiety. I constantly feel a pain like a stitch in my right side under my ribs, and all I can think about is - is that a clot moving, am I going to drop dead? I'm scared all the time, and have aches and pains all over the place. Thankyou for telling your story, and to everyone for writing in, it really helps & I don't feel like it's the never-ending story of me being paranoid quite so much tonight. Please send a little prayer up for us to finally tie the knot on the 20th November 2010.

Eric 6 years ago

I thank you sincerely for taking the time to write this. Hardly any of this info was provided by the hospital, so I found myself surprised when I was short of breath and dizzy after even slight physical activity. Though hard to read, your info will allow me to be more patient with the recovery process.

Just returned from a 4 day stay at hospital for a PE thought to be caused by my body's reaction to a PICC line. Rushed to hospital by ambulance with dizziness, nausea, sweating, and shortness of breath. Treatment was basically as you described and am waiting for my INR to reach between 2-3. Thanks again!

heidi gibson 6 years ago

Glad (but not glad) to hear so many people with the same problems and pains as me.

I think the fact that I don't know what caused my PE is what bothers me most :(

MIchael 5 years ago

Lwelch- Thanks for your post. I am a 26 year old male who was diagnosed with pluerisy six months ago. The pain from the pluerisy went away after about two weeks. At the end of september I started having pain in my right lower back and in my chest on the right side. Thinking it was just pluerisy acting up again, I did nothing about it. I took a leave of absense from work and just rested. After 30 days of constant pain I went to the ER. They took a chest X ray and said my lungs were healthy. They gave me pain meds(which I refused) and sent me home. I continue having the chest pain, eating helps a little. I don't know what the cause of this is. It feels like there is something moving around in my chest. The mental toll this takes is just as bad as the physical. If I complain, the people around me make it seem like I'm complaining about nothing. The symptoms I have match a lot of the symptoms I've read here today. Somehow reading your story and your responses to other peoples stories has made me feel better, even if just for the time being. Thanks again for the post. - Michael

Susan 5 years ago

I am so glad I found this website. The doctors who treated me have told me nothing about what to expect after I left the hospital. I had a PE 2 Mondays ago and spent 5 days in the hospital.

I have had difficulty breathing, like something is sitting on my chest, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness, the same symptoms that I felt right before my PE.

This week I had those symptoms and they didn't go away so I called 911 and was back in the emergency room. They did tests and said that my lungs looked better but said I had an anxiety attack and gave me a prescription for a sedative.

I am easily winded and I feel like someone is sticking a finger in my larynx all the time, so I'm starting to think I have that VCD.

I go to the doctor today and I'm going to ask for a different anti anxiety medication and something for asthma because I can't seem to draw a breath sometimes.

I actually thought that I would snap back quickly from this but now I see that the road to recovery will be long and anxious one. Thanks so much for posting this. It's made me feel much better.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Michael - I would have the doctors do a chest CT with contrast dye. I had multiple clean chest x-rays!

Susan - you might have VCD or a form of asthma, or, some other thing I haven't heard of. I do know panic attacks can mess with breathing. I also know that VCD can be triggered by stress.

I think I had mild VCD for a long time (years) before the PE. I think the PE made me notice what it feels like not to breathe. I think this knowledge makes me cough easier when my chords are irritated I also think I panic more easily when I feel the tightness. I try now just to breathe through it. I am thinking though that it may be time for a visit again with the speech therapist as my cough is worse again. If you have that, it is a pain! A ENT at a place that is good with chronic coughs and speech disorders is a good starting place. You could also try a gastroenterologist to see if reflux is causing VCD or airway irritation.

Tonia 5 years ago

So many of you will be surprised to know that I am 18 years old and was diagnosed with PE.

When I first had trouble breathing and chest pains I went to the ER where they did XRays of my chest and I was diagnosed with Pneumonia. A few days later I went to a 2nd doctor, who also did chest Xrays and once again I was diagnosed with Pneumonia. I was told to go for a check up visit in a week.

Well the day after my2nd diagnosis my mom came and picked me up from college and brought me home, where I just laid around propped up on the couch for a week until my follow up appointment at my primary physician.

They also took xRays and said that it did indeed look like Pneumonia, but I was showing no other symptoms of that illness. I was sent to another ER where they looked at my xrays and said it was possible that it was Pneumonia, but that they would do a CatScan to be sure.

And sure enough, I had a massive Pulmonary Embolism in my right lung and a much smaller one in my left. I was admitted in the hospital for 5 days. Every morning at 4am I had my blood drawn, my vitals checked every 2 or 3 hours, I was hooked up to a heart monitor, I had ultra sound on my legs, another cat scan, and they attempted a MRI (but lying down flat was too painful for me so they had to stop). I also received blood thinning shots twice a day in my stomach. I have been placed on the coumadin for 6 months and am allowed to do no physical activity more than a walk for that time period. I was just released from the hospital yesterday and am back at school, trying to talk to the Administration and Financial Aid to see if it is in my best interest as a student and victim of PE to continue for this semester.

My PE was caused by the oral contraceptive Apri.

Donnie Ricks, Midlothian Texas 5 years ago

I experience my PE about five weeks ago, which resulted from a DVT caused by a fall at my church about eight weeks prior. Like most men, I "pushed through" the pain from the fall and felt that everything would be okay.

But, I suffered the crushing chest pains, the shortness of breath and nausea, which caused me to go to the local E.R. The PE was diagnosed, and immediate treatment was administered. After almost five days in hospital, I was released with restrictions against riding my horses, my tractor, or the riding lawnmower. Other than that, I was free to do whatever I could "toleerate." Love that term; tolerate. The pain in my leg is a constant reminder that the clot is still there, and the coumadin is just a stop-gap measrue until that demonic thing is finally absorbed.

After release from hosptial, I experienced the euphoria of "I'm home,and I'm alive!" for about two weeks. But, going into the third week, depression set in, I suppose due in part to the limitations on things that I truly enjoyed doing. I've read about the depression, but I've not seen anything about the almost uncontrollabe rage that I find myself experiencing. Sometimes I wish the PE had done it's worst.

Neil  5 years ago


Thanks for the very informative page. I seemed to develop DVT in my left calf in April - blame the ash cloud for a long train journey & meetings. 2 days after this trip my left calf swelled up and became sore. I put it down to being a "mystery" muscle strain.... In May I developed a cough and woke up the next day with a sore right lung. My GP initially diagnosed this as muscular. Over the next month I still had pain and repeatedly visited my GP who couldn't hear anything and still put it down a muscular problem. In mid June I developed severe pain in both lungs, coughed up small amounts of blood each morning and was eventually diagnosed with a chest infection. This responded to antibiotics, but over the next few months I still had pain. In mid August I had a chest x-ray that showed a small pleural effusion on my right lung - again this seemed to respond to antibiotics and I felt quite comfortable and started running/exercising again from late August to early October. A chest X-ray in early September showed little other than what looked like scar tissue at the bottom of both lungs. In early October it all flared up again - pain and coughing up blood. I now had a referral to a specialist. By the time I saw him most of the symptoms had again cleared up and I was left with a small amount of pain. He couldn't find much wrong with me but thought there was a small pleural effusion on both lungs.

A subsequent CT scan revealed that I have multiple pulmonary emboli on the lower lobes of both lungs. I was immediately told to go to hospital and start on Heparin and Warfarin. I went home after one night in hospital as they figured not much was likely to happen as I'd already had it for 5 or 6 months!

Nearly a week later I'm working again though feeling slighly weaker than I did last week (before the drugs). Hopefully it all clears up - but it shows that persistence is sometimes necessary to get to the bottom of things!

Jennifer 5 years ago

Just a quick note to thank you for this wonderful website -great information.

I am a 37 year old wife, mother of 2 small children and career woman -who was diagnosed one week ago with PE (2 in my right lung and 1 in my left) and a clot in my left leg.

I had all of the similar symptoms last Friday as described above and went to the ER at 2 AM. I thought maybe I pulled a muscle from an aggressive bootcamp class but was SHOCKED to hear the real diagnosis! I was also very disturbed to hear how "lucky" I was......

Recovery is scary; I have come to realize that I must stop working (as the stress of sitting in my bed answering calls and emails is causing tightening in my chest)and now just wait to feel better. I can hardly pick up my 19 month old son without needing to sit down.....I am nervous every time I feel a "twinge" or "pain" in my leg and chest for fear the clots are moving. I am at home now on Coumadin with INR levels at 2.8 and would like to know -what keeps the clots from moving to a fatal location at this point? Not much information on the subject and the doctors do not give clear answers......I consider myself very lucky and thank the Lord daily for the clots stopping at my lungs and not another location so my kids will grow up with a Mom but I do not feel like I am "out of the woods" has only been a short time and I am tired of being "nervous" all of the time!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author


The way I understand it is that the clots already have moved to a more fatal spot. One of the functions of lungs is to filter blood clots. That could be urban folklore, but, they do catch stuff before it reaches your heart or brain. For a clot to make it to those areas one must have a PFO (hole in the heart) that allows the blood to go from one side to the other without filtering through the lungs.

If you haven't had an ultrasound of your legs, ask for one. It will show if there are more clots that may migrate. I was bed bound until they did my ultrasound.

You found the clots, you are most of the way to safety. You are on medication that will prevent new clots while your body is clearing out the old ones. Give it a year and I bet you will be a lot better!

glchee 5 years ago

I, like everybody else was searching for recovery from pulmonary embolism. Not much from my doctor or the internet. I found this site thankfully. My story started with an ACL knee repair. Everything went fine. I had a double procedure with the second procedure being extraction of wisdom teeth. I was recovering fine but I came down with pneumonia. I remember when because China’s Tiananmen Square massacre was occurring and the Indy 500 race. Toward the end of the month I had my first Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). From 1989 to 2007, I had a total of 5 DVTs. I was always leery of my DVT turning into a pulmonary embolism and up to that point I did not have one. I turned 50 last year and thing happened. I had been removing stumps from the back yard a couple weeks before going into the hospital and it really winded me. I could not believe that what I was doing was tiring me out. A couple weeks later I was coughing up blood and I had my first pulmonary embolism May 28th. I was in ICU and the hospital for 7 days. I was admitted May 28th and didn’t wake up until May 31st. I said to myself, “what is going on with my blood clotting”. I didn’t some heavy internet searching and found this site and a condition called thrombophilia. Before I could schedule more testing with my doctors, I was in the ICU again Sept 16 thru 21. Same as before, coughing up blood. The first time in ER, they said I had pneumonia and send me home. The coughing up of blood stopped. The next night it started up again, coughing up blood. Like the last ER visit, ER thought pneumonia and tried different things and it stopped again. I was discharged. Before leaving the hospital I needed to use the bathroom. When I left the bathroom I starting coughing up blood again. The admitting nurse said this was normal and she didn’t see much blood. I told her that I was swallowing the blood, so I started to let some out of my mouth. Some got on the floor and they finally let me back into ER. After 3 hours of coughing up blood I was admitting into the hospital. I was in ICU again and this time I ruptured two arteries, the right upper intercostal artery and right bronchial artery. Pretty scary. I went back to work Oct 5th and on Oct 9th my neck began to hurt and swell. I saw my GP Oct 11th and he thought thyroid infection. To make sure nothing was going on he scheduled me for an ultra-sound on my thyroid gland. I got the results Oct 14th and it was a blood clot in the jugular vein. (I can’t believe this year). My INR is finally therapeutic. But I still have a cough. I requested a complete blood work test for the different factors of thrombophilia. The results came back and my cardiolipin antibody was out of whack. This had been identified before but did not cause any concern because I had only 3 DVT up until then. My pulmonologist wanted me to get an echo test (MRI) to test for Pulmonary Hypertension because of the episode of rupturing 2 arteries in September. I got that result back and it came back negative. Pulmonary Hypertension is a pretty nasty condition. It is almost Thanksgiving and I am very thankful to be alive. My hope is to be able to ride my road bicycle again.

gw 5 years ago

Donnie, if you still have depression and are on warfarin (coumadin). it may be the medication. There are other medications that may work for you. A new one is pradaxa. It is much more expensive than warfarin, but doesn't reqire the monthly blood testing for clotting time.

Rosa 5 years ago

I am 38-years old and this past March, I suffered a "Saddle Pulminary Embolism" which took up both lungs and brochial tube. (the left lunch was about a third full of blood and of course the damage is unrepairable). The clot began in my right leg, my deep vein from my ankle to my groin, I had no symtoms except for heaviness in my leg. I've had all of the blood panels done and it has been determined that the contraceptive I was on has caused the whole trauma.

I have had many ups and downs, but what is the most bothersome is the Chest Inflamation. It can only be treated with anti-inflamatory. The chest pain reminds me of the PE, stops me in my tracks, and takes my breath away. I moved to a lower elevation in hopes to control the swelling in my leg and the oxygen saturation in my blood, that has remained low since the PE and makes me have to sleep with oxygen.

I hope that the year mark brings more relief but it is fast approaching.

Jean 5 years ago

My 30 year old daughter was diagnosed with 2 PE's in each lung on December 9. She had crushing chest pain and could only take shallow, fast breaths. The ER doctors immediately ordered a CT scan to confirm PE, gave her morphine, her first blood thinner injection, and transferred her by ambulance to a larger hospital in our city. They assured her she was going to be ok; that she had made it to the hospital. If she had not gone to the ER when she did she probably would have died. After 5 days in the hospital (ICU) she was released and is following the standard treatment of coumadin. She was advised by physicians in the hospital to have genetic testing done, as her father had a blood clotting disorder and had blood clots in his legs. Her clots came from her legs and the doctors feel that smoking and taking estrogen played a role in developing the PE's. I was glad to find this site as no one has told her what to expect next. They sent her home with no restrictions. She saw her PC doctor two days after release from the hospital and he knew nothing about the hospitalization. He cancelled his appointments this past Thursday afternoon (I guess to get an early start on Christmas) so her blood was not tested this week. She still has some mild chest pain and shortness of breath. She is also very emotional--she wonders why she didn't die and what the purpose of her life is. Almost like PTSD. Reading posts here help confirm that what she is feeling physically and emotionally is normal. I just feel like her current doctor is treating this casually and she needs to find a doctor that will answer our questions and give some guidance on where to go from here.

Rob 5 years ago

I'm ever more grateful for other's who share the same issues that I face I was told that I have bilateral pulmonary in 2009 Asthma obstructive sleep apnea dyspnea

on exertion cough chronic fatigue and malaise and idiopathis hypercoagulopathy hyperreactive airway disease GERD deconditioning. I stayed off work for six months thinking all was okay rushed back to work of course to pay the bills not thinking about the pain hasn't went away. I have a bout with reactive airway disease Asthma and you name it headaches chest pain SOB after 10 years at my job I was not really aware that the visible Black mold under my desk and in the carpet and throughout the building would have a major impact on my life and respiratory system I have no HX of Asthma or Pulmonary in my family I don't smoke drink or do drugs and have'nt. My office was in the basement that flooded every rainy day and backup sewage. It was business as usual And this is a Health clinic you think . They began to do repairs after several years of musty odor and wet moldy floors walls and No effort was made to relocate or to shield us or divert ventilation not knowing that all this time this was making us sick. I returned to work Sept 2009 to soon discover nothing had change in my work enviroment and that i began to have some of the same symptoms which appear to be related to the work environment. I worked three Jobs and couldn't return to but only one because I was so tired after leaving this place and experiencing Shortness of breath wheezing coughing achiness headaches a moldy taste nausea Vomiting. I felt sick and my bleeding started internal I had been posioned by the mold and didn't realize this in 2009 but other co- worker were always getting sick to with respirtory sinitius flu like Pheumonia and severe asthma issues. The walls started coming down floor ripped up and we were there the entire time they had hazmat suits and mass and we were recontainanated I couldn't breath and began to bleed through my clothes my co-worker said you need to go to the hospital I called my spouse and my doctor sent me to the hospital and soon to discover Recurrent Pulmonary emboli six days stay in the hospital. This PE took alot out of me deconditioning to the point that they told me the life of my lungs was that of a 84 year old im only 46 . Never had asthma obrustructive sleep Apnea GERD Chronic Fatigue constant chest pain ,SOB What is going on I thought until August this year 2010 I began to experience worsen symptoms all over again my Spouse is a nurse and spoke to my doctor's and here we go with the CT scan more as they call reccurrent Pulmonary emboli APS they me rushed to the hospital the pulmonary doctor had me admitted and 6 days later i fill like a old woman visiting nurse physical theraphy home health aid . Im a person who works three job now walking with a cane and badly deconditioned I had a conversation with my doctor at my appointment he is clueless and nobody knows the severity of your pain but you and God. don't let anyone rush you through your life i have learned to take my time and live and take care of my health. I will not be returning to work indefinite and yes thats depressing but i can't do my job any more Who can i give cpr and cpi to ? Who is going to give it to me afterwards. Know doctor's are anyone will ever rush me back to work again Now at the same job my supervisor was diagnois with blood clots on the lung and lung cancer. What can we do for other when can't do for ourselves the list of disabilites keep adding up and I want to live my INR all of the place still not therpuatic shortness of breath headaches CPAP daily dizzy you name it. But thats not the end for me I start pulmonary rehab next month Feb. I don't want strike three this ride is not fun but very painful and yes i have PTSD and depression from this whole ordeal and I don't take it lightly Sleeping is hard and trying to regain. I don't know if my job would pay me to lay down when my head start hurting or the severe chest pains and go to all the doctors appointment if anyone know of this please let me know. I've worked in the field of addiction and mental health for 20 plus years and Lisenced and certified and college educated but what does all that mean when im moving like a turtle with bad knees. I will work on getting my life back one day at a time this is my healing process . Not my doctors or insurance company will be making decision about my life no one will put me out to the pastor with the cattle again. Stay strong stay Blessed and most of all due you. Be healed in your time. Cause tough times don't last always but tough people do.

Rob  5 years ago

Oh i forgot to say they found out through all the test chemistry, Genetic testing that my blood clots weren't in my legs never had surgery no family history or prior hospitalization our injury or birth control my PE came from toxic enviroment sick building syndrome. Bad Air in building cause respirtory , bleeding lungs PE, Hives, the list goes on.

bhamoggy 5 years ago

Firstly, what a great site with an abundance of useful info from lots of people so many thanks for all who have posted:

I've been out of hospital for a week now after 8 days as in-patient.


I was given tinzaparin injected into my stomach first 4 days then warfarin after that.

Having had ECG, X-RAY,BLOOD TESTS AND CT-SCAN on arrival, i was quickly diagnosed with P/E.

After 4 days in hospital, they sent me for ultrasound on my other organs, liver,pancreas,bladder,kidneys etc all appeared ok with no problems.

No ultrasound was done on my legs though.

Having been out a week now, I'm still struggling and getting out if breath quick but have be warned it could take up to 3 months or so for full recovery.

I had a P/E around 6 years ago although not as bad as this time and I'm told now I'll be on warfarin for rest of my days.

I am worried about the R VENTICULAR STRAIN, that was diagnosed with the P/E

Will that repair itself in time or will i always have a weak heart now?

any input would be very welcome

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

I don't know how easily a heart recovers. I would find a cardiologist or pulmonologist who can answer that. There are cardiac rehab programs out there that may be of use to you. They help one build up after problems. I lucked out and had no heart problems, but, they are very common. If you find out the answer let us know as I am curious.

Sean 5 years ago

Like most before me have indicated, I am thankful for this experience-based resource of information and support.

I am a 35 years old male who was diagnosed with my PE about 11 days after having emergency surgery for a broken collar bone at the beginning of December. I take some comfort in being able to associate a direct cause of the PE. Nonetheless, it has been quite painful recovery, compounded by the fact that I can't lift my 6 month old son due to my broken collar bone. I experience excruciating pain in my lungs when I attempt to lay or sleep horizontally which means that I've been trying to sleep in a more vertical position (in a chair or recliner) for the past several weeks which is less than desirable, but I guess it could be worse. I long for the sleepless nights that were strictly because of our newborn son! Now, with the sleeplessness because of my injury combined with the fact that my son still isn’t reliably sleeping through the night, I’m realizing the true meaning of tired. On the other hand, to those who (used to) say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” be careful what you ask for!

Anyway, I thank God for my situation. I've experienced some serious head games ever since it happened but after reading all of the comments, I feel more confident that I’m one of the lucky ones and that I just have to give it time. I've been reluctant to rely too heavily on the oxycodone pain meds but I don't see any other alternatives to getting some form of rest at night. If anyone has addition insight, I’d appreciate it. Otherwise, I wish you all continued healing, both mentally and physically.

Guin 5 years ago

Hi, thank you so much for the article and in depth analysis you provided regarding different phases of PE and the experience of being diagnosed with it. Now I truly understand the symptoms that I still feel. I had 2 major surgeries - a total hysterectomy and nephrectomy in Sept. 2010. After a day of discharge I went back to the ER because I nearly collapsed several times at home. I was dagnosed with PE and stayed in the ICU for 2 days so spent a total of 11 days. I went through all the battery of diagnostic tests described in this article and we never really got to find out what caused the embolism. I did smoke for about 14 years with a 6 year interval in between. I also took oral contraceptives for close to 4 years, but that was about 20 years ago. I am getting ready to go back to work after almost 4 months. I am still on Coumadin as getting to the Therapeutic range is quite a challenge for me and my Cardio thoracic surgeon who monitors my condition. I have my PT-INR test done every 2 weeks since I was discharged last October 2010. Your article is truly a blessing because it gave me a very deep insight on what to expect during recovery. I now realize that I will really have to wait for my body to heal completely before I can expect significant improvement. Hopefully I would be able to arrange for a reduced working hour scheme with my employer to get me on the road to recovery sooner. BTW, I forgot to mention I am asthmatic so I have regular check ups with my pulmunologist to ensure the asthma doesn't exacerbate the PE. I now fully understand why they call us patients, it's because we need to be truly patient as we travel the road to recovery and well being. Again thank you, you helped us all. May you continue to be blessed.

Rebecca 5 years ago

Another thanks for a great article...just returned from a Christmas vacation overseas a week ago, feeling very short of breath after an episode of pretty severe food/water poisoning near the end of our vacation. Figured it was just residual weakness from being sick, since I'm relatively young (mid-thirties) and a gym freak. But the shortness of breath got worse over the next couple of days, so I went to the ER on the advice of a telehealth nurse, and lo and behold, my lungs were FULL of PEs, both sides & everywhere. So, 2 days later, I'm trying to figure this whole thing out. Luckily (?) my only symptoms are severe shortness of breath (can't even make it around the block, when I used to do 10K runs with no problem) and dizziness/lightheadedness. Am on rivaroxaban twice per day now - has anyone had any experience with it? Also I haven't had a leg ultrasound yet to determine whether I have DVT - should I be moving around at all? I have been going to work...can't handle sitting at home and worrying!

Ron 5 years ago

Great Article .. fits my profile closely.

I recently had a massive saddle PE ( Jan 3rd ) traced to a trip to India in August ( 5 months prior ). I nearly died . I was in ICU for 6 days.

My theory is DVT, however, even 5 months later I still am generating clots from my calf and currently have a clot behind my knee.

Rebecca , Listen, don't mess around with this stuff. If you suspect DVT is the root cause then the clots most likely started in you legs. Get an ultrasound. It only takes one emboli to detach from the clot to kill. Not worth it.

I owe my life to an emergency room physician who was experienced in the symptoms.

Appreciate this site and the details for dealing with PE.

I will be out of work for 2-3months but alive.

lasuvidaboy 5 years ago

Thank you for this site! I had my PE one year ago in January of 2010 and am still re-covering 1-year later. I am a 47-year-old male who has been very active my entire life. My clot was the result of a severely torn calf muscle while doing calf raises at my gym. I have been training at the gym since I was 20 and this was my first serious injury. The PE developed approx. 2-months after the initial injury and it came on all of a sudden. I was hospitolized for 6-days and finally released. Recovery has been frustrating (not to mention those occational anxiety attacks!) as the breathing problems still appear. A therapist helped me deal w/the anxiety and breathing exercises are very important. The problem of course was in the beginning I could not get enough air in my lungs to treat the anxiety attacks! I was back at the gym after 6-months but on 'light duty' and stairs of more than 1-level are still a challenge. After many doctor visits, it looks like the PE is still with me and may be with me for several more months. I deal with it (what is the other option:)) and thankfully my family and friends have been very supportive of my condition-never pushing me. Again, thanks for this site and all the informative letters from other PE sufferers.

suzie  5 years ago

my husband and I just finished having lober and steak dinner . I told him that my rightside was hurting ,we thought just gas . By the next morning I could not breath very well and was having troubles lying down hurt tons . I was just going to stay home from work but my husband made me go to the hospital ,good thing he did cause i had blood clots in both lungs my left lung was small but right was very big ,half my right lung was full of blood .I was in hospital for 12days and now home and sit sleeping in sitting up in chair cause lying down still make very short of breath like someone is sittingon my chest . I m very tried still and have friends staying with me nite and day , doc does not want me to stay by myself for awhile .I feeling vvery angry and frustrated that i can not go back to normal, Im crying all the time . Im very glad to find this site and to know that I m not the only feeling like this !!!!!

kelli 5 years ago

I agree with others so glad to run in to this site. I had the lap band surgery dec 3rd on dec 8th started not to feel to well short of breath and tired. Dec 9th i went to my local er were there they found i had a pe they shipped me to a bigger hospital because the clot was so big. when i got to the other hospital i was in very bad condition because of my bad condition and the size of the clot which was the biggest taken out of a living person it was a straddle clot went in both lungs completely they have pics and it is the entire pulmanary system it stayed together so yes i had to have open heart surgery to remove it. Im lil over 6wks out of surgery and the pain is still there sometimes i think iam paranoid because im afraid of it happening again they called me a miracle sometimes dont feel like it with my chest still hurting from being cracked open. they put a filter in because i still had clots in my leg so i get scared its not going to stop them.

almasi profile image

almasi 5 years ago

Thanks for a very useful hub.

dee 5 years ago

I am very grateful to have come across this site. In October 2010, at the age of 32 I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance after collapsing at work and having a seizure. After coming around from the seizure, I was experiencing crushing pain in my chest and had great difficulty breathing.

One colleague phoned my cardiologist to meet me at the emergency room while a second colleague called for the ambulance.I don't remember much of the ambulance ride, however, I later learned that EMS gave me CPR on the way to the hospital.

Upon arrival at the hospital, my heart and lungs continued to struggle and fail. The physicians suspected that a PE was the cause. After several hours of CPR and thrombolytic drugs, they managed to stabilize me for a few minutes to get a scan of my heart and lungs. As was suspected, PEs were the cause of my heart and lungs failing. I had two massive saddle PEs blocking my pulmonary arteries, many more small PEs in both lungs and a DVT in my left leg. Two cardiologists called my family to let them know manual thrombectomy was my only hope for survival as they had been unable to stablize my breathing and heart rate for more than a few minutes at a time during the previous hours.

Within 48hrs of my arrival to the hospital, I underwent two separate surgeries to remove the largest emboli. A temporary filter was inserted after completion of the second thrombectomy.I spent 5 days in the ICU/CCU followed by another 4 days in a medical room before my discharge.

Prior to my discharge it was determined that I have Factor 5 Leiden Deficiency. I have been stabilized on Coumadin since my discharge.

The first time I recall a physician telling me that 5 days had passed since my hospital admission, of which I have no recall at all, I had coded more times than they even could count, I had undergone 2 surgeries, had future surgeries already scheduled, had massive PEs and a DVT, over 5 broken ribs, had a clotting disorder, and would be anticoagulated for life...I was completely overwhelmed. During the next several days in the hospital I felt like I was conquerring the world as I started to grasp some of the information coming towards me...only then to face discharge. I was beyond scared to leave the safety and security of the hospital. Getting back home led to so many more challenges than I thought I would be facing...pain control, shortness of breathe, coughing up blood, the emotional roller coaster of recovery and learning to eat low salt, low fat food with stable amounts of vitamin K, just to name a few.

I have been fortunate to have made incredible progress both physically and mentally over the past two months of my recovery. I'm very appreciative that it appears I will have minimal long term damage to my heart and lungs with no other deficits noted. However, I am still facing challenges working thru the emotional aspects of recovery. I have experienced fears and anxiety related to healthcare decisions, work and my own financial stability that at times have been more than overwhelming. I'm hoping that as the months pass, this too will become easier with time.

Marita 5 years ago

Hi all, I have a question. I had multiple pulmonary emboli 24Sep10 (lots in my right lung, some in my left). I thought I was getting back to 'normal', other than a few twinges and generally being tired, so returned to work on short hours. After 3 days at work I started to feel unwell, just a cold I thought. I still felt quite nervous about being back there, so tried to ignore it at first. Started coughing more, temp went up & I realised it wasn't just going away, so trotted off back to the doctor. Had a chest infection, so onto antibiotics & ventolin to help the breathing. I just got worse & worse, ending up with a violently high temp, pretty much delirious, eventually it came down but I still felt really bad. I had to wait for an appointment with 'my' doctor (who originally diagnosed my PE), and he listened carefully to my chest & sent me for an x-ray. Turns out I have 'community acquired pneumonia'. Not really bad, but taking more oral anti-biotics & have to have a total of 5 intra-muscular penicillin shots over 5 days. And taking flixotide, which helps sometimes. Still feel like I'm choking most nights, and can't walk for more than a few minutes without starting to cough. Has anyone found you are really prone to this type of issue, and for how long? Will it take me a lot longer to get over the pneumonia than if I didn't have the PE? The doctors usually answer my question of returning to work with - "If you feel up to it". Well, I DON'T KNOW! I might feel up to it for half an hour then want to run home to bed. No use to anybody. I'm sure it's sort of in my head, but the breathing problems are real, and scary. I'm trying to talk myself into returning to work, but I can't cope with getting so sick - I'd rather be broke.

Dee 5 years ago

Marita, take time and let your body heal from the pneumonia. I'm 3 months out from my PEs and last week received a lecture fron my pulmonologist that I wasn't taking it easy enough on my body and to remember that my heart and lungs,in great shape for a PE within 3months, are still healing. I was confused as my docs all told me to do as much as i could. So i was pushing myself to return to normal life and beyond. When i reported back the symptoms i was having during exertion-the docs all said i needed to slow down. It's difficult for the docs to tell how much and how quick your body will recover so they give us 'do ad much as you can' directions and then give more advice once we can give them some feedback.During the healing process it will take longer to heal a secondary issue such as pneumonia. Rest up and best wishes for getting past the pneumonia and for continued recovery from the PE.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Marita -

I think when your body is using its energies healing you, it has fewer resources available to fight infection. I had a really nasty ear infection and a number of other things that took much longer to heal than typical. I would run a low grade fever off and on for days. It is a pain because it slows down recovery some and recovery can make you more prone to illness.

Also, if you were in the hospital for your clots, there is a lot there to be exposed to. Also, Doc offices and waiting rooms are of course place where sick peeps are as well. So we are exposed to more things during recovery due to INR checks and Dr visits.

TJ 5 years ago

Thanks for the article. I was in the hospital from Jan 10th through the 14th with an acute saddle pulminary emboli. Returned to work almost immediately. Thought I was recovering fast but I now have those symptoms of back and chest pain(fairly mild) along with axiety. I don't want to keep running to an emergecy room

TJ 5 years ago

Since my post worked I will be more specific. I am in my 50s but thin active and have no clotting factors or family history. Monday evening the 10th I came home from work was laying on the couch and suddenly had that odd back pain that went in deep. something told me to go to urgent care. I had no breathing issues. From there I was rushed to a hospital ER. About 2 hours from the first pain a CT scan showed my clots. I was admitted and was pretty much oblivious to the danger I was in. Once out and put on thinners I really didn't get it even though I asked a million questions. This article was the best and i have referred back to it often. Every time I get a recurring symptom. I have them now wich brings anxiety. The doctors just say, if you think something is wrong go to the ER. Well how am I supposed to know. You had mentioned that it is common to feel sensations where you had symptoms. Some days have been great and some have been bad. My nra is checked often but it will be at least a month or so before they recheck the clot. any advice. How safe are we?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

How safe is a hard question as it is individual. If you had your legs checked and there are no clots and you INR is correct theoretically you should form no new clots to go to the lungs. It is pretty rare to get new ones in that situation. That being said, I said rare not impossible. You might notice that I went to the ER twice after mine. Safe is better than sorry. You will learn your body and how it is going to feel. Often they don't recheck clots so that isn't a good test of "safety". Also, the original clots aren't the concern, new ones are.

stephanie 5 years ago

I have to bouts of PE's one 2007 and again in 2009, I am on coumadin for the rest of my life. The second time in 2009 was about 6 months after gettng off coumadin, I had breathing problems the symptoms were dif. from the first time, had the chest pain and the shortness of breath, being overweight everyone thinks thats your problem or you are over reacting. Do the clots ever dissappear? Will being of coumadn stop new clots from forming? I am so nervous I am on advair 2x's aday and xopen up to 3 times, I sometimes feel a little better but I still have a hard time walking and breathing, I just got a scooter, will I ever get better or should I expect to feel this way forever? Thank you

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

The clots in your lungs do tend to disappear in time. New ones can form though. In your legs, your body forms scar tissue over the clot so it is always in the way a bit.

I recommend that you get yourself a hematologist and get tested for clotting conditions. That doc can help you decide if you want to be a coumadin lifer. With your history it may be the right choice.

Also, you should look into a respiratory rehab program that can get your breathing and endurance worked back up. With the scooter it will help short term but it will make regaining that endurance take longer.

Dawn 5 years ago

Hi all, Bilateral PE July 2009. I was 45 then, am female. A year out, lungs finally felt normal again. Even kayaked a lot (including a ten mile paddle) and got up the nerve to ride my bike. Anyway, with all the snow and ice shoveling up here in the Northeast I am "feeling" my lungs again. You all know that feeling, I'm sure. The pressure, heaviness...hard to put into words. Can that happen? Be fine for 8 months and then overdo it and go backwards?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author


I would say that it might be possible, but, I have 2 other theories. 1. the cold air is more rough on your lungs than warmer air and therefore is more irritating on healing lungs. 2. You are more aware of how your lungs feel now so you notice the cold air more. I think the 2nd is what makes my vocal cord dysfunction a problem now when it wasn't much of one pre-embolism. Our brains try to warn us when we might be in trouble again. This is great, but, brains aren't always right. We panic thinking it is clots when it is a typical feeling for many. I know that I still do that over 2 years out. We are now aware that we have lungs.

That is great that you are so active already! Keep it up. Activity helps to prevent clots.

Dawn  5 years ago

I hadn't thought of the cold air. I was out shoveling for a couple of hours every time I went out. Other than that I spend as little time as possible out in the cold. Maybe it was a jolt to my system. Hope it doesn't take too much longer to get back to normal again. I did check in at the hematologist today to rule out clots and low iron. Thanks for that food (cold air) for thought and this informative site.

TJ 5 years ago

Just checking in. It has been 6 weeks since discovering my acute "pulmonary saddle emboli". Since(last week)I was told by my docs that the clots are disolved(they are assuming)I feel much better. Stronger and much less anxiety. however I am coughing and also stil get some pain in the lung area especially while lying down and it freaks me out. I was told I could begin my outdoor activities again(causiously) I'll wait for some of the ice to melt. I am hoping to get back into kayaking and hiking again this Spring. No reasons for this yet but they are recommending coumadon for life. This concerns me due to life style and since I have other medical issues and the supplements and pain killers that worked are now off limits. It will be my decision. It may be quality of life vs Life. Waiting for results of a couple more blood tests

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starinyoureyes 5 years ago from N Ireland

I have red this and must say it has been a big help I found out on 19th nov I had a clot in each lung .After being in a lot of pain and I could not breath I went to hospital in the car walked in but almost dropped .I was not sure what it was .I was kept in for a week and put on oxegen and blood thiners I have had a few scans .Six years before this my daughter of 27 years had died in my arms suddenly.It was PE .I didnt know that it was happening to me to.But I was lucky I am alive to tell the tale.It is a very frighting thing to have as you feel like a time bomb waiting to go off.No one tells you much about it over here in Belfast.I have been feeling depressed and still have a lot of pain in my lungs were it all happened.As a mother and a grandmother I feel quilty that I am still here and my beautiful daughter is dead.I think this is part of the shock of it all I am on warfarin now for 8 months but a check after 6 months.I would just like to say thank you as I have found out more about this illness here. And the after effects and dont feel so alone And am greatful for your help and advice.

Kollege  5 years ago

I am 23 years old recovering from PE. The original location was unknown, but birth control was suspected. I'm just about a two months into recovery. I go to college and it happened after my first week of school. It wasn't sudden, but a continuous buildup of pain until it was unbearable and I went to the ER. It hurt to walk/breath/stand; everything I did hurt. I had a CT scan and the pain was immense (I cried the whole time). I had a similar experience as you in the hospital; where I had to reteach myself to use the bathroom and walk. Luckily I was stable in a weeks time to go home. I didn't go back to school for another couple of weeks. I only found this forum because at this moment the left side of my back hurts so bad (it was my left side that hurt to begin with). With hospital bills being so expensive I don't want to go unless I absolutely need to. Its nice to know of others that have or are going through the same thing.

ANNE ARMSTRONG 5 years ago

Hi. So pleased I found this site. I am recovering from my send bout of submassive bilateral emboli in three years. My first time was following a flight from England into Las Vegas. I was short of breath and couldn't walk without feeling dizzy. I was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with bilateral emboli - spent two weeks in hospital and then accompanied home with a medical team on oxygen. After three years I was still using oxygen at home on a regular basis and suffering from fatigue and shortness of breath. Then without warning I collapsed at home and was taken to hospital as an emergency. Admitted with submassive biateral pulmonary embolisms and now I am on warfarin for life and at present 24/7 oxygen. I know it is a long road to recovery so will just take each day as it comes. I am 65 years old, asthmatic, have high blood pressure, menieres, tinnitus, dysphagia, hiatus hernia, arrythmia. Withthe help of my husband, a wheelchair and portable oxygen I have got back into my busy social life. We go out about three evenings a week, have meals out at least twice a week and visit friends and relatives regularly. We have regular visits from family; three sons and their partners and our three grandchildren. We go shopping most days for food or just to browse. The doctors told me I was extremely lucky to survive this second bout of pulmonary embolisms and the damage caused to both heart and lungs is serious. But the important thing is that I am still here and planning for the future.

Rosanne 5 years ago

I had a pulmonary emb. last April. I have had many complications after including a vena cava filter placement that became gangrenous. I will be on cumadin for the rest of my life and the filter will also stay in for life. After a few months of less palpitations they have come back. I had blood work done last week and it came back with overactive thyroid diagnosis. Has anyone else had thyroid issues caused by the embolism or the cumadin? I never had any thyroid problems before.

Scott 5 years ago

Nothing personal everyone, but I'm glad to see there are plenty of other folks I share this "problem" with. I just spent 16 days in the hospital in Moscow, Russia following a bout w/ multiple lung and abdomen clots, as well as pneumonia. I've been diagnosed w/ Factor V Leiden and I'm currently taking Warafin on a daily basis. Btw, I'm a 42yr old male.

My symptoms came out of nowhere and damn near made me immobile within a few hours. Multiple tests, needle pricks, and servings of bad food later I walked out of the hospital and took the Metro home.

I still get some discomfort when I take a deep breath, especially outside in the cold. One of my biggest problems is having to eliminate or greatly reduce my alcohol intake...not because I'm a drunk sipping on a bottle all day, but because I genuinely like beer. I'm told you can have 1-2 beers or a glass of wine a day as long as your INR remains within range. For most people a glass of wine doesn't last through dinner! Well, I'm less than a week out of the hospital and I've decided to wait on any alcohol until I make an early return to the States next week and speak w/ an American physician.

Like a lot of you, I don't understand why this is happening to me now. Moscow winters can only help but make you a bit more sedentary, but if I've had Factor V all my life why didn't it manifest itself on a 12 hour plane ride or 14 hr drive across the country? Questions that will never be answered I suppose.

Gabriella 5 years ago

Thanks for writing this. I am currently in the hospital with a PE in my right lung. I had no idea what was going on and still am pretty freaked out. I have been here for 4 days so far (on my 4th day) and still they are trying to adjust the meds. I don't feel well, am anxious and scared. This article has helped me understand so much more. Thank you so much for writing it. It is a tremendous help and calming to me. I am really freaked out and have a lot going on besides the PE. I have two young girls and just want to live to be their mom forever. :*(

LouiseNewZealand 5 years ago

This website is an absolute blessing to me! Thank you to the maker of the site and also to all of you who have shared your own situations.

I was taken to the Emergency Department on the 17th February, 2011, with terrible pain in my back. A blood test showed the presence of clots and a CT Scan confirmed Multiple Bilateral Pulmonary Embolism. My ECHO was excellent as was the scan of my legs (no DVTs). I am yet to find out why I have this. I was in hospital for 1 week and am home and doing well I think. I don't know if I am really doing well because I honestly have no idea what I should be expecting to feel like? Like many others I get so fatigued so quickly, and the heart races and I need many rests from just pottering around. I'm off work and have no idea when should go back, but just know that there is no way I could go back yet. This PE is scary because I don't really understand the risks for the future. I was on Clexane (heparin) for a week, as well as taking WARFARIN which I am still taking. My levels were between 2.4 - 2.7 but the latest one was 2.0. I don't want it going lower but my Doctors nurse said that my doc may even let it be down to 1.8 which worries the heck outta me. I don't want it that low..I'm anxious enough as it is.

I've been online today looking for relaxation music/techniques, because when my mind isn't occupied I'm feeling very anxious.

My two sons are 18 and 14 years, and their Dad committed suicide in 2005. My boys need me and I can't stand the crazy fears that are entering my mind from time to time. I just want to feel peaceful through this.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this load that is on my shoulders.

Kindest Regards, Louise.

LouiseNewZealand 5 years ago

Hi again. I've got a question please. I left hospital with my INR level at 2.7. I was taking 4mg. Since I've been home from hospital (about 12 days now), my INR level has been dropping. I'm being blood tested every second day. My level 3 days ago was 2.0, and now it is 1.8. My doctor said he is very happy with 1.8 but I am not and he knows I'm not. My General Practitioner has had me taking 3mg daily no matter what my level is, and continues to do so. I rang my doctor from the hospital who said if it was him he would have increased my dose. But still, my doctor doesn't seem to mind 1.8. It's really annoying me and concerning me that my General Practitioner see things so differently to the hospital and myself. How do I get peace of mind about this?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

If you can get a hematologist or find a coumadin clinic they will give you the best advice, but, without that here are my thoughts. I was told that we wanted 2.0-3.0. My hemotologst told me not to panic thought unless I was 1.5 or lower.

If you are bothered, find someone with more experience than a GP. They know a lot about a lot of things but specialists are the best for in depth scenarios like warfarin. My doc did well with the prescribing but many find that the coumadin clinic or hematologist is much better and able to keep them more stable and in range.

You do want to be 2-3 and if you are under consistently my gut instinct is that you need to change the dosing. I am a patient and by no means a doc.

Look on and see if you can find a clinic. It has the USA but also has other countries listed on the left if you need them. Also, look at getting yourself a hematologist.

Logan 5 years ago

Thank you so much for this article!! This site has answered almost all of my questions! I just suffered a PE on the 4th of March and was released from the hospital the next morning. I've had soooo many questions since and not enough face time with doctors to answer them.

I'm an 18 year old female in my first year of university. When I first experienced shortness of breath while walking to class I thought nothing of it. I blamed it on being out of shape, having a cold, and the possibility of asthma which runs in my family. I had plans to go to the clinic for a check up last Friday but ended up waking up in the night with crippling shoulder and back pain. I couldn't lay down or sit because of the pain. I could only stand, which much difficulty due to dizziness. By the time I was in the hospital and on pain killers I felt almost fine again. I am sooo thankful that my experience wasn't as painful as others have been. After the X-ray came back clear a CT was ordered and a bunch of small blood clots were found in the bottom of my right lung. Since then its been daily Tinzaparin shots in the stomach and early morning blood tests. I am tired all the time. The pain in my back and shoulders comes and goes and sometimes is very sharp. I am very thankful that these are the only things I've had to endure post-PE.

The clots were most likely caused by my birth control 'Yasmin' but I may also have a genetic disorder, most likely factor V leiden. My uncle has this disorder and two years ago, my cousin died from a clot that traveled to her heart, just days after giving birth.

If I do have the disorder, is it possible that I will be on Coumadin for the rest of my life?

Would having children in my future be high risk?

Is it common to experience hair loss while on Coumadin?

Just the tip of the iceberg for my questions.

I wish all of you the best with your recoveries!!

Your posts have been amazingly helpful!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi Logan! Welcome!

I have Factor V Leiden. My Hematologist offered a choice to me... stay on Coumadin for life with very little chance of another clot or, go off of it as my blood tests were fine in other regards. I chose the risk of future clots. It was a personal decision, but I feel safe with it as he did feel it was an "acceptable risk" for now. If I have a second clot, I will go on Coumadin for life. (or another anticoagulant)

Having children is a higher risk for those with Factor V Leiden, but, you are alive! If you have FVL so did either your mother and/or father. I bet somewhere in the family there is a mom who had it. Most likely my mom has it as I have a cousin on her side that has it. My mom has never clotted.

To carry a child with a clotting disorder means that you will most likely be on Lovenox or a similar drug for the pregnancy to help blood flow through the umbilical cord and placenta. You will also be on an anticoagulant for a number of months post partum when your hormone levels are high. As you have found out, hormones can create clots in your body and as you know from family experience, that can be deadly. You have the gift that you can now prevent that. You will just have a hematologist and a high risk OBGYN work with you when that time comes. I have a small article on that if you look at my profile. I haven't gone through it yet, but, I am not worried about it.

Although clots and miscarriages are common, you know about your risk BEFORE they happen. Many moms don't find out until 3 miscarriages in a row (typically the OBGYN tests for clotting at that point) or a clot.

Hair loss is very common on Coumadin but not always a problem. Mine thinned a lot but only my hair stylist could tell. My mom never noticed and really, it didn't look different it just felt different. It also didn't get thinner and thinner. I lost it near the clot and then it just stayed different until I was off Coumadin. When I went off of it, it fell out again and then grew in thicker. Go figure!

If you need to email me, feel free to use the hubpages email link.

I hope all goes well (I am sure it will) I am glad that you caught the clots early!

Marita 5 years ago

Hi, I'm back again - with another question. I've always had awful periods, so being on Coumadin hasn't made a whole heap of difference. After abdo pain recently, I found out I have an endometrioma (like a cyst, made up from endometriosis)on my left ovary which is about 5cm. My ob/gyn initially prescribed tranexamic acid 1000mg for 3 days during my period to try to relieve the heaviest days, but both times I did this I ended up in ED with chest pain, and the 2nd time the haemotologist in the hospital consulted with their gyn dept and told me not to take it again. 1st time I had pneumonia, 2nd time 'a flare up'/muscular-skeletal pain . Now my ob/gyn is talking about a hormonal IUD. As my initial PE was considered to be partially from taking progesterone only oral contraceptive, I'm just a bit dubious. I was only on the oral for about 8 weeks before the PE diagnosis - and I know, I'm on the Coumadin for now, but this IUD is supposed to last for 5 years, so what happens if I come off the Coumadin? Will a PE get me next time? Anybody else out there had this done whilst on Coumadin? And,any comments re IUD side effects??? The thinking is that the IUD will put me into early menopause, and the endometrioma will shrink.

I still have days where my chest really hurts, but I usually only get out of breath now when I walk a bit fast or far. My GP is sending me to a chiropractor to help with the chest pain - he (the chiro) says that the joint which connects the rib to the spine is stuck in position, and that's contributing to the pain. I've been for 4 sessions now, haven't noticed much difference, but his office is up some stairs and last time I was so puffed by the time I got up them I could see he was a bit surprised - I was having a 'bad' day. Has anyone else tried any chiro treatment? He hasn't managed to loosen up that joint yet, and it's costing me $40 a visit (and we're living on one part-time wage now, with 4 kids still at home, no easy matter!). My INR has been low (1.7) for the last 6 weeks, and the clinic is creeping it up slowly so as not let it get too high (should be 2.5 - 3), but I can really feel when it's low - my chest aches more. Plus I've been trying not to use the Seretide every day, I'm so tired of taking meds. But I'll have to use it, I'm not wheezing but I think not using it is contributing to my chest aching. It's been 5 months since my original diagnosis, has anyone else had this asthma type shortness of breath but not wheezing, even this long afterwards? I know when I went to hospital my oxygen sats were fine, why do I feel like I can't get enough air? Is it just me - I'm so tired all the time. And yes, I 'spose I'm having a whinge, but at least here I feel like someone will understand. Great as my GP is, I feel like he's a bit sick of seeing me!

Anwar 5 years ago

Found the article very informative. I had a PE in January, spent 6 nights in hospital, worst moment in my life, thought I was going to die. I spent another 6 days in hospital in February as my INR went down to 1.5, my range has been set to 2.5-3.

The one thing that bothers me is, my INR will not remain within range, and I still get chest pains.

On Sunday went to A&E and was diagnosed with cellulitis, hope this is not linked to my PE.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi Marita!

You never know, maybe the stress from the PE caused you to develop something like asthma. I had no wheezing but had a hard time breathing. It was vocal cord dysfunction. It was over a year out when it finally got named. It took 2 pulmonologists to get it identified.

I have opted not to go for the hormonal IUD even thought my hematologist and my OBGYN feel it is an "acceptable risk". I couldn't go every day knowing it is there maybe making things worse. What I do know is that progesterone only pills and the like tend to clot less as estrogen is the biggest culprit. Also, the IUD is a very localized dose and much lower than the pill forms. Theoretically it is only in the uterus and is fine.

Now that being said... I won't do it. I see the print saying "advise your doctor if you have ever had blood clots". I would have that on my mind every day. It is hard enough being on the airplane or getting simple leg cramps or bruises!

I know that NATT states in the Women's Health blood clot issue of their newsletter that progesterone or IUDs may be a good solution for patients who are on coumadin and experiencing increased menstrual flow.

So, as you can see, there is a lot to think about.

For the Chiropractor... I have used one. I had some good and some bad parts of it. It didn't fix my headaches, it helped my feet, and having a rib re-adjusted and popped back into place felt amazing. (I didn't even know it felt weird!) I have a lot of luck with deep tissue and trigger point massage. Here that runs $55-75/Hour. Massage schools and discount places cost less but you may not get a medically oriented massage. It may be relaxing but not healing. Massage can be ouchy if you go for the deep tissue. Also, if you have current, active clots still the massage will possibly dislodge them. (I am still nervous about having my legs done and only have them worked on when absolutely necessary).

I have heard other people have pain with INR levels as well. It is not "officially" recognized as a side effect, but, I have seen it show up on the Daily Strength bulletin boards.

If you have a lot of side effects on generic coumadin it may be worth trying name brand Warfarin or another brand of generic. Anecdotal evidence shows some people fare better with one or the other even though they "should" be the same.


I don't think the cellulitis would be directly related, but, stress on the body can cause a lot of odd things. I don't know a lot about cellulitis. A quick search of embolism cellulitis on Google netted a lot of posts. It looks like cellulitis may be mistaken for a DVT and visa versa. Also, it can be caused by a bacterial infection which you may have picked up in the hospital. If you hear an answer from a doctor, please share so I can find out what you have learned.

Here is a great, reputable site for information on cellulitis:

Update for the end.... I just noticed that cellulitis may be linked to post thrombotic syndrome due to decreased leg circulation. See the emedicine article above:

Recent PE 5 years ago

This was very helpful to me. I just spent 5 nights in the hospital and was released today with my blood being a 2.6. I'm 22 and birth control caused mine.. i have several. i just worry about them bursting

Worried Wife 5 years ago

Hi there,

Thanks for taking the time to write this, you have certainly been on a journey.

My husband was in an accident and developed bi-lateral PE's. This was approx. 6 months ago, he is planning to go overseas later this year and just had a thrombosis/ haematology clinic appoinment today and asked them about this, they advise two options - an injection (presumably a blood thinner) prior to getting on the plane and then another one within 4 hours of landing - then repeating that when he is due to fly home. The other option (which seems a little vague to me) was to not drink alcohol, wear pressure stockings and drink extra water. We are going to get a second opinion because these two options seem so far removed from each other that I'm not sure my husband has understood it all properly.

Do you, or any of the other readers, have any advice/ comment regarding flying (flight time would be approx. 5½ hours).

Scott 5 years ago

Excellent website, thanks for all the great information.

I returned home 5 days ago after spending 8 days in the hospital with PE. Simialar to others, I was released without a clear indication of what I could and could not do. This website contains so much valuable information. Thanks.

Bit of history... 37 years old, male, active marathon runner, and 100+ mile per week cyclist. No history of any medical issues. No injuries, no travel, no family history of clotting.

Six weeks ago, I spent the night in the ER, originally was diagonosed with pneumonia. Sharp pain in my right side. Was put on antibiotics and went home embarrassed to have wasted time and money by going to the ER. Over the next few weeks, the pain in my chest increased, and spread to my left lung. In retrospect, I should have went to see my PCP much earlier than I did, but thought I still had just pneumonia. I had to sleep in a lazyboy, as laying down at all was too painful. The final straw for me was waking up in the morning coughing up large clumps of blood. Finally went to my PCP, who immediately sent me to the hospital. CT scan indicated bilateral PE, Pulmonary Infarction, Bibasilar Atelectasis (collapsed lung), and DVT.

Its very scary when doctors are describing the clots in your lungs as "massive", "everywhere", and "worst I have ever seen". I know that my stubborness to go back to my PCP after my first diagnosis was probably a key reason why my clots were as bad as they were.

Couple questions:

I was scheduled to have a root canal during the week that I spent in the hospital. Obviously I missed my appointment. Is it ok to get the root canal done while on Coumadin? What precautions do I need to take? I just went over 2.0 INR yesterday. Will they let me off Coumadin to get dental work this soon after being out of the hospital?

Does anyone have any experience with increased liver function that occurs concurrently with PE? My PCP thinks it is a direct result of the Heparin I was on at the hospital, but my Hematologist thinks that is not the case. Any ideas?

With the pulmonary infarction, and bibasilar atelectasis, will I eventually recover full lung function?

ANDREA 5 years ago

Thank you soooo much for the wonderful information. I went to the ER 7weeks ago and found out I had PE in my right lung. I haven't been able to find much information on recovery and a time frame. I still deal with daily chest pain and feeling very tired. I get very frustrated about my chest pain and feeling of being always tired. I work full time and have 2 young girls and I am grateful that I am still alive to enjoy them, but I get scared about whether I will ever feel better.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Recent PE:

Good news, they won't burst. They are clots. Think of a scab. It is a clot before it dries. The worst has happened. The clots went to your lungs.

Worried Wife:

My hematologist feels that a flight under 4 hours does not need the blood thinner (Lovenox) but if I go over 4 hours straight on a plane I should have Lovenox. I try now to book my flights with stops to prevent myself from being on the plane more than a couple of hours. I drink lot of gatorade and wear pressure stockings while on the flight. Take a look at for more info on that topic. A great site for travel info is It is somewhat technical but has great tips. I have done the Lovenox injections and they aren't bad. Do what will make you guys and your doctor the most comfortable.


OK, lets go through your questions... On the root canal. I can't remember the answer. There used to be a chart up at (it looks like the same chart a retired pharmacist used to have up) I would talk to some people and see what you can learn. The big thing is that clotting can kill you and bleeding will just be annoying and messy. Don't be afraid of the blood. Take a look at these articles for some info: or or I have seen some mention of using trexamic acid mouthwash but it can be hard to find. If you want to go that route check out compunding pharmacies.

According to "This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including certain liver function tests, prothrombin time), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug." I can't find any reference to PE and liver function. The liver does control clotting and create clotting factors though, something to think about.

With the infarction and etc... recovery is very varied. I know that people can adapt to having lungs removed! Wow! I think you can assume that with time and endurance training you will gain it back. Don't get discouraged is the big thing. It took me close to 2 years. No one ever said "infarction" to me but I know I had multiple, bilateral, large clots and areas of collapsed lung due to decreased blood flow.


I was scared like you! At the 2 year point I was back to where I was before. Do what you can do, don't hide yourself in bed, and stay as active as your body tells you is OK. I went grocery shopping with mom a lot. Those 1 hour trips meant 2 hour naps in the beginning! 7 weeks is just the beginning. You will be a lot better in a year.

Shiraz Shariff (Toronto, Canada) 5 years ago

Thank you so much for writing this. I tried bouncing back immedeatly, but often felt fatigued, particularly in the evenings. It's been 6 months, my heart rate is still a little high, particularly if I exert myself in any way. The anxiety was extremely difficult to deal with, but much better now. Your piece comforts me, knowing that the post-PE symptoms and anxiety I feel are not unique to me. Thank you again

Jemma, Leeds, UK 5 years ago

I'm in my hospital room at the moment, feeling like a bit of a fraud as they won't let me go home until my warfarin levels are right. This is my 7th night in, and not going to complain about been bored in here anymore as I'm lucky to be here.

I'd noticed for a few months I'd become very short of breath and I put this down to been overweight and thought a doctor would do the same. However I woke up with heart palpitations and very short of breath. I made an appointment with my GP who, said I was stressed and had a panic attack and prescribed beta blockers. not great really looking back as 3 days later I still felt very unwell and went to a&e. A fast thinking doctor had diagnosed me as having a PE within a few hours and started heparin injections. after a ct scan the next day it turns out I had bilateral PE - 4.2 cm each. A week on, I've had an ultrasound on my heart, which is clear, my oxygen levels were at a massive 99% and my pulse and blood pressure are normal.

Your page has been a massive inspiration to me as i'm struggling to think with how different things could've been. My consultant has mentioned I have factor 10 blood, and at least now I know this is something to watch.

Thanks again for giving me answers I so needed.

Anwar, Dewsbury, Uk 5 years ago

Just an update. Recently had sickness and diarrhoea. My INR last week was 2.5, went for a blood test this morning INR down to 1.5, very suprised, anybody else had similar problems. Now having clexane injections for the next 5 days.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

If you have vomiting or diarrhea your body may be passing your warfarin in the stool or vomit. If you don't digest it, your INR will drop.

Mike Prov 5 years ago

I had rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder the end of January of this year. A couple weeks ago my left arm swelled-up like a spider bite. My doctor sent me to have dopler and I had a 6 inch clot. He set-up me up to go to a vascular surgeon 4 days later, but I ended up goig to the emergency room the night before my appointment. They did a catscan and found I had multiple clots in my lungs too. I was in the hospital for a couple days and they gave me lovenox and couamadin. After I left I was at the emergency room for 2 of the following nights for swelling in my leg which they couldn't find any clots. My better half continued to give me a couple shots of lovenox daily for 5 days which stopped this past Sunday. I started out on 5 mgs and on Friday doctor raised me to 10 mgs and my INR was 2.3 yesterday. I know what everyone means about the side effects and I'm a newcomer to this. They told me I'd probably be on this for 6 months and by then my clots should be gone. It's scary for everyone and I know what you mean by feeling paranoid about going to the ER. I've got something for anxiety, but I know pain, etc.. when I feel it like in my leg and lungs. I appreciate all your comments especially the positive one. It seems hard to get those. Thanks.

Abhilash 5 years ago

Measures to prevent PE:

* Exercise regularly and wear compression stockings

* Drink plenty of fluids

* If one needs to be stationary for long period, move around for few minutes each hour, move feet and legs, bend knees and stand on tip-toe

* Do not smoke

* Avoid crossing legs

* Do not wear tight fitting clothing

* Lose weight if over weight

* Elevate feet for 30 minutes twice a day

Marita 5 years ago

Hi L and all, well, the last specialist I saw made me feel like an idiot. Told me flat out that there was no way that the PE was causing pain (it's 6 months now since bi-lateral multiple PE diagnosis). Well - no arguments, but I'm still suffering pain. I don't care what you call it, it's in my chest and it HURTS. Some days I can barely move. He also advised me to go ahead with the IUD. So - took my last dose of Coumadin on 31st March, have to go for a blood test end of April for genetic or underlying blood disorders. Apparently it takes a couple of weeks for the blood tests to come back, but at least I should have definite answers by the end of May. If any come back positive, or I develop another clot, it's back on the Coumadin for life. He suspects there may be something, due to a) a miscarriage many years ago; b) a huge blood clot I passed when 3 months pregnant with my middle child (now 19) and c) my 28 yr old daughter had 2 small strokes when 24 yrs old and 9 months pregnant. So - every time I asked the question whether my horrid clotty periods had anything to do with the clots in my lungs, I was told resoundingly NO. Sounds like they are to me... Anyway, don't know if it's because of the Coumadin, but had the IUD put in 3 weeks ago and have only had 2 days with absolutely no bleeding at all. So much for no more periods. Has anyone else heard that there is a new drug out to replace Warfarin, no side effects - but it's still too expensive so not properly released yet. The specialist I saw was practically foaming at the mouth with impatience for it to come out. Did I mention I also have FSH Muscular Dystrophy? There are a couple of scientists appearing here in May for a seminar, and my brother has organised for them to come and talk - I don't know if this is why it might be taking my muscles a bit longer to 'bounce back' but if I get the chance I'm going to ask them. Any other FSHD people out there with PE????

angel hope 5 years ago

Thank you so much! I have scoliosis and chiropractic hasn't been taking care of the discomfort behind my heart/ left lung, which impedes my breath and energy. I wonder if an embolism could be involved. I'm so grateful for all that u shared, as it offered me hope!

Anne-Pauline 5 years ago

Hi all, thank you for this forum with great information! I am Dutch and did not find an up-to-date Dutch forum, so I am glad I found this one!

March 7th, I tore a cruciate ligament in my left knee on the second day of my first ever ski holidays in Austria. The doctors prescribed "rest, cooling and more rest and cooling". My husband had to give me fraxi shots for 10 days. After those ten days, I did move, but apparently not enough...

Two weeks ago I entered the hospital with all the complaints you guys already described; shortness of breath, heart palpitations, pain in the chest ánd a swollen left leg. I had a clot in my left leg (found through echocardiogram) and they highly suspected PE. They did not make a CT-scan to determine the latter, because the acenocoumarol would treat the clot in my leg, as well as in my lungs.

Each time my INR is good, but I take 2-3 tablets a day.

I still suffer from fatigue and sometimes I feel pressure in my chest, but I am trying to recover as much so that I can return to work for a couple of hours a day.

@LWELCH: vomiting and diarrhea cause loss of fluids, this also takes place in the blood vessels, so your blood becomes thicker. For PE patiënts this is risky, of course - contact your GP/physician in this case!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

I had not thought of the dehydration risk, that is a very very good point. Hydration helps to prevent clots. I am always worried about that on airplanes.

I am really impressed that you had fraxi shots. I am thinking from your context that fraxi is a blood thinner. If it was, wow. That was great medical care.

It is very common to take more than one tablet a day. This is often the best way to negotiate the right dose. It is easier and cheaper than having different strength pills to accommodate INR changes.

Best wishes on recovery!

Julie 5 years ago

I must tell you how much I appreciate this site - the only one like it that I've been able to find. I refer to it often when I'm experiencing fatigue, just as a reminder that PE is serious and one doesn't recover overnight. Mine was in December following major abdominal surgery a few days prior. Since then my INR and dosage have been perfectly stable at 5mg, so no worries there, but whenever I experience a bout of fatigue, indigestion, or any minor ailment I tend to worry excessively about a recurrence or some kind of bleeding, neither of which has occurred. Like you, I can sleep until 1:30pm, and energy level can range from being able to walk a mile on the treadmill to becoming exhausted from a short walk. I'm curious to know why you were on Coumadin for one year instead of 6 months, which I thought was the usual recommendation. Also, did you experience withdrawal symptoms of any kind when Coumadin was discontinued? This worries me, too. I'm glad to know you're still active and feeling well without the need for medication. Thanks for such an informative entry.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi Julie,

Thanks for the feedback. As far as I know, there are no other resources on recovery anywhere! I have a dream of a stand alone site and a book but both a so far just a dream.

You have a great question about the Coumadin. When I was in the hospital a nurse suggested asking for a hematology consult. I did. He reviewed my case and did some blood work of his own. When he saw my spiral CT scan, what he saw concerned him a great deal. I don't know how to read the film, but, from what I understand, I had multiple, large clots in both lungs. He was concerned about the severity of the clotting. He decided that due to the severity, I would be on it for a year rather than the typical 6 months. I guess the benefit was that while I was healing, I was not going to have additional clots. Due to some ER trips in the weeks of recovery, I know that my clots had dissolved in the first 2 months. I still had a collapsed lung and then later they could see air trapping (that turned out to be my vocal chord dysfunction). My ultrasound of my legs was clear in the hospital. So, maybe I didn't need that full year. Hard to know.

Coumadin has no withdrawal. It is actually easier to stop it than start it. Coumadin takes 2 weeks to clear out. In those 2 weeks you just slowly have the blood chemistry return to "normal". It doesn't throw the system out of whack. When you start it, you have a higher risk of clotting because it knocks out the anti clot chemicals in your blood before it knocks out the clotting ones. When you get off of it, that goes the other way.

My understanding is the only risk of stopping coumadin is that normal means an increased risk of future clots. If you have a hematologist she or he can do your blood tests once you are off of it for a few weeks. These tests can help to determine if you should be on anticoagulant therapy for life or if being off of the meds is a "reasonable risk".

I still worry when I see weird bruises or have odd leg pain. Flying is still nerve wracking. Whenever I fly I have to talk to the airline disability coordinator to ensure a seat with leg room on an aisle. I also know that if I get pregnant or sick I may need lovenox shots. That will always be there I bet. The good news is though, that yep... life is pretty much "normal" now. I gained a lot of self confidence through surviving. It also makes an interesting story. I shouldn't be alive, but, I am. I am very grateful for the wonders of my own body now.

If you come up with any other questions, please feel free to email. I can share what I have picked up since my diagnosis.

Paniolo Bill 5 years ago

This forum has been very informative and I thought it is about time that I shared my personal story.

I am an active senior citizen who has not visited a doctor for an illness in forty years. We have a small ranch and I do ranch chores and ride horses every day as an amateur western performance trainer.

In the weeks before my "episode" I developed a very nasty cough. I coughed so hard that I thought I cracked a rib on the lower right side of my chest.. Having had that injury in the past, I knew what it felt like. At night, while lying in bed the pain level was determined by whether I was lying on my back or on a side. The right side was the worst and sometimes the pain would pulse like a muscle cramp. After some days the pain subsided and then it recurred in a different location. Then it would subside again

I then began to notice that activities that normally were non stressful would cause me to be a bit out of breath. My internet research on the symptoms seemed to point to pleurisy. I went to a doctor and he ordered a chest X-ray. The X-ray came back with a small area in the right lung that he said was either an old scar or fluid. He gave me antibiotics and said he would order another X-ray after the course of antibiotics was complete.

On February 5th of this year at 3 AM, with three days of antibiotics left, I ended up in the ER with chest pain in the sternum area. The pain was different from that which I had previously experienced as it was in the center and did not change when I changed position. Thinking I might be experiencing a heart attack I took two aspirin and asked my wife to drive me to the ER.

In the ER they asked if the pain was worse when I took a deep breath. I answered in the affirmative and the doc said that was good news as it probably was not a heart attack. They drew blood and and ran an EKG. These tests were normal. The ER physician and nurses were perplexed as I appeared to be a very healthy individual. Finally the doc ordered a CT scan and advised me I had bilateral PE.

I was admitted and given Lovenox every twelve hours. They drew blood every few hours and I had multiple EKGs. I could not lay completely flat as the pain was worse in that position so I slept sitting up. I was visited by a pulmonary person and had multiple echocardiograms. All normal.

By day two in the hospital I was feeling better and the pain had markedly decreased. I had a 24 heart monitor while in the hospital and on the second day a nurse they came to my room and said I had what appeared to be an atrial fibrillation. I didn't feel anything. I then had an echocardiogram. The cardiologist read it and the results were good.

After two nights in the hospital I was released and went home. While at home I wore a Holter heart monitor for 24 hours. Results of the Holter were normal. No A-Fib. My wife administered the Lovenox shots in the belly every twelve hours and I drove to town for a daily blood test. The Lovenox was discontinued after two weeks, a happy occasion. I had started warfarin in the hospital and at first the GP doc said I would be on it for three months, then it was six months then it was perhaps for life. The chest pain and the cough went away after a couple of weeks.

However, recently I am getting fatigued. No cough or chest pain, just tired. I believe it is the warfarin. I am taking 10 mg per day and am now down to a blood test every two weeks.

When pressed for the criteria for warfarin duration I cannot get an good answer. The latest comment was that since they cannot determine where the clot came from they are concerned that another will form.

As one who has never taken prescription drugs, I am loathe to continue this regimen and plan to get off of it as soon as possible. I am reasonable sure that the ingestion of warfarin is responsible for current symptoms and that it can be supplanted by vitamin E, ginkgo, garlic, etc.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

I would really recommend a hematologist if you didn't get one while in the hospital. I know that you have age as a risk for PE but, you want to know if there are any other risk factors such as some of the blood clotting disorders (thrombophilias). This will help the hematologist determine the length of warfarin.

Warfarin does have fatigue as a side effect. It also has anemia as a side effect. Anemia can make you very very tired. Ask a doc to do blood work to check for anemia. You could also have a consult with a pharmacist to see what else may be causing the fatigue.

The down side to a lot of the supplements that you mentioned is that they only work on platelets. Typically clots like we have had, are caused by the "glue" rather than the platelets. You can do a lot of things though to prevent future clotting.

- stay hydrated

- don't sit still for more than 1 hour

- take driving breaks

- move around when flying

- watch for leg clots

- consider wearing graduated compression stockings

- be careful if you have surgery and ask for anticoagulation as needed at those times

- if you are ill and bed ridden, also ask for anticoagulation

- consider doing it when needed at other times

Natalie 5 years ago

I wanted to thank you for this article. I was hospitalized March 10 with blood clots in both lungs. Luckily, I was discharged on March 14. While in the hospital I suffered, not only from the pulmonary embolism pain, but severe anxiety. I returned to work just this week. And while I was home, I researched & researched. I couldn't find very much information regarding the actual recovery from a pulmonary embolism.

I kept assuming that since it had been over a month since my hospitalization that I should be feeling better. I had myself convinced that the pain that continued was all in my head. But you have put my mind at ease. I still feel far from 100%, but I do feel a little better & stronger every day. It was very comforting to read that other people had to be put on anxiety medication too.

I still have a fair amount of discomfort when I breathe, especially when I take deep breaths. I find that when I laugh I have horrible coughing fits & often cough up blood. The Dr's kept telling me that this recovery is going to be long road. I guess this experience is going to teach me patience - something I generally lack.

Thank you for all of your insight. You have put my mind at ease. I now know that it's ok that I still don't feel well. But the important thing is that I am getting a little better everyday.

DiNMontana 5 years ago

This is a great site. I have lots of questions that the medical field can't answer. I feel worried all the time.

I got diagnosed with a PE in December, 3 weeks after a hysterectomy. I didn't have blood clots in my leg but threw the clot from my pelvis but now that I think about it, my mom always wore "the stockings" and talked to me about "vein thrombosis" decades ago. I'm supposed to be done with my coumadin episode sometime the end of May of first part of June and I'm so worried about having another PE.

I have been so sick since November, 2 UTIs, a sinus infection, pneumonia... I'm am in pain again, running a fever, shortness of breath, my ears are ringing and hurt so badly, my ribs hurt and I have moderate pain between my shoulder blade. I just finished a a 4th round of antibiotics since November for a sinus infection 4 days ago. I have never been so chronically sick in my life. Its discouraging. I'm at that place where I can't walk up a flight of steps again without breaking into a sweat. so... Well, I know I need to see the doctor and I have an appointment in a couple of days. I don't even know how I'm going to get to work tomorrow. UGH!!! The nurse said it sounds like pneumonia again or still. And that was a relief because I was researching whether or not I could have a second PE while on an anticoagulant. YIKES.

I have learned some weird breathing skills to help me get through a sentence or two when I'm on the phone. I'm worried that I've grown accustomed to all that weird inability to breathe and aches and pains so I'm not so aware when something is wrong.

So have some of you guys been super sick over and over again???

cindi 5 years ago

ty ty ty... i found info on what pe is and how u get it but this is all i could find on what to do and expect afterward... ty for sharing and i wish u good things always..... ty

DiNMontana profile image

DiNMontana 5 years ago

I had a chance to read more of what others have posted here. I am actually going to my doctor for the first time since my first visit just after my diagnosis in December. I had actually gone in to see him because I wasn't feeling well, he wanted me to have an ultrasound on my gallbladder. The ultrasound tech had the radiologist come in and he ordered a CT scan after talking to me and then sent me back to my doctor.

So from there I bought the Lovenox shots from the pharmacy, my 19 year old daughter administered them to me, then started the coumidin. I was treated at an urgent care clinic for the pneumonia a month later because I couldn't get in to see my doctor (I felt like I had to work instead)...

So I've learned I'm not a good reporter. I should have described my pain as excruciating and that I was coughing up blood. Nonetheless, I have not been told much about this problem. I did have an ultrasound on my legs, it says negative for DVT on the lower extremities. I was told that they thought the clot was thrown from my pelvis after surgery but I don't remember an ultrasound being performed on my pelvis. Is that still considered a DVT? Do I need to be concerned about that in the future. And if it isn't that, then why did I have clots? I'm getting a little concerned about being turned loose in 5 weeks and I really didn't have the medical care that it sounds like a lot of other people had on this site and no answers as to why this happened. I'm 45, non smoker, average in every way. There are words in my report like infarcts and pleural effusion, but the embolisms are small? on both sides on straddling lower lobes... he did tell me that after the coumidin is gone I wouldn't need any follow up. Do you think he was just kidding?

So I'm going to see him tomorrow because I'm having some minor pain in my back and under my ribs again. Not as severe as the first time, low grade fever, etc. Nurse thinks its still pneumonia. Oh, shortness of breath too. I'm wondering if I should be insisting on more from him than what I'm getting and if maybe I should be seeing someone else? Like a hemotologist? Or maybe I'm having separation anxiety.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

I think a hematologist would really help you out. They can test for clotting conditions and they know a lot about PE and DVT.

Any large vein with a clot is a DVT. I would think the pelvic clot would count.

Pelvic surgery would increase your clot risk so there is a good chance that is it.

The clot will clear themselves. He is right. Mine were gone in a few weeks after being on coumadin and not throwing any more clots. If the surgery did it, you wouldn't be at an increased risk unless you have another surgery.

My hospital care was merely taking coumadin, having an ultrasound, having a heart ultrasound, and getting diagnosed. My treatment after the hospital was mainly getting testing for the clotting conditions that they couldn't check for in the hospital.

DiNMontana profile image

DiNMontana 5 years ago

Oh thanks for writing back. It definitely makes me feel better. I don't know how many times people either tell me "you could have died" or they tell me about someone they know who did die from a PE. UGH!

Well the diagnostic tests I had were the ultrasound on my gallbladder to rule that out, the CT scan, the ultrasound on my lower legs. That was it. Oh and an Xray on my chest because I complained of chest pain first. I walked into the dr's office, down to the xray lab, drove to the imagining center, waited there for hours, back to the doctors office, over to the pharmacy, back to the ER to get instructed on how to administer the shots, then home, it was quite the day but it was better than being hospitalized.

I live in the sticks and ya never know. So knowing what the actual medical course was for this is kind of foreign for me. I was pretty grateful they didn't make me stay in the hospital. I am looking forward to going into the doctor tomorrow though. I'm pretty sore and I'm breathing pretty shallowly because it hurts.

So what would you say if I said that I've had similar symptoms but not as severe to this before and then they went away? Can one have an PE and just not know it?

Alright, I'm done wondering about this for a few days. Thank you for this website!!!

NoelCD 5 years ago

Thank you for this site. Got home a week ago from a 4 day hospital stay with a PE in each lung and 1 in my right calf.

Every one is right there is not much information online. Thankfully, I am blessed with a very caring & informative doctor. But even after asking my dozen or so questions, I have more and more while I am at home and I do not see him again till Monday.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Can one have a PE and not know it? Yes! Many people have tiny ones, never know it, and go on to live their lives. I have heard that one of the functions of the lung is to filter small particles before they reach your brain.

Looking back I had symptoms for months off and on. My doctor took forever to make the final diagnosis. PEs are so vague that there is no sure way to say yes or no. Many people don't have traditional symptoms. For instance, I had high blood pressure rather than low.

If you want more medical information about treatment and everything else.... statistics, presentation etc... google emedicine pulmonary embolism. Emedicine is very accurate and medical and will give you the full run down. This includes how difficult it can be to diagnose a PE

Marita in Aus 5 years ago

Hi L, and DiNMontana, boy do I get how you feel. I've been off Coumadin for 5 weeks now. Felt like I was coming down with a cold 2 weeks ago, nothing serious at first, but I still get pains around my ribs & back which I'm told are muscular-skeletal, and I do NOT want to be a hypochondriac, but it is really hard sometimes. The 'buggy' feeling got worse, and my heart was pounding for a few days, then on the weekend I was a mess. Went to the doc on Monday with shortness of breath, a 'spot'that really hurt to touch on my rib, coughing (not bad), and a resting heart rate of 102. The heart thing scared me, and he talked me into going to the hospital 'just in case'. I went shopping on the way home and had terrible stabbing chest pains so decided he was right. Well, didn't I feel stooopid...yes, my heart rate varied from 100 - 117 while I was being monitored - about 6 hours. Had another CTPA - no new clots (yay!), no infections, no heart damage (relief). But no explanation for the heart rate. So I got sent home with orders to eat & take 2 nurofen, come back if the pain got worse. Oh, got my first ever migraine on Tuesday (please god, let it be my last), shocking nausea on Wednesday morning. Lung function test with histemine came back as borderline/negative for asthma from a couple of weeks ago. Well great, but I really want to feel normal again, and I'm still feeling out of breath just standing doing the dishes or chopping vegies. Thought I was going to faint this morning, and my heart rate was 97 when I got out of bed, went to 120 which was when I felt faint and really nauseated. I used the ventolin as I couldn't breathe, didn't make any difference. Can a CTPA be wrong? My dr wrote me up for a ecg this afternoon, and I have to get a halter monitor fitted for 24 hours, but I think that only works if it's palpitations, not exactly what I'm experiencing??? Has anyone else had this type of thing happen? I'm trying so hard to normalise my life, and failing miserably lately.

'L' I really admire and appreciate you taking the time to read and answer - have you thought about publishing? As a survivor of PE. From the look of how many people find you, imagine all the ones out there who don't, and would be relieved to read all of this. It's such a relief to realise that there are people going through similar stuff, of all age groups. It feels quite lonely when you look normal but don't feel it. It isn't like an obvious injury that people can go 'oh look, he's got a broken leg'. You just never know.

amber 5 years ago

I just want to say thank you for posting this info. I just left a 15 day hospital stay after finding 4 blood clots in my lungs 2 on each side. there is no info out there and i have been struggling. I have been out of the hospital for 1 week and the difficulty breathing and chest pains, headaches and backaches are terrible! i am 33 and am struggling with the anxiety and depression. I mad that this scary life altering thing has taken over my life but your article has given me some peace so thank you again!

HarleyGeorge 5 years ago

It is 3 weeks today that I was diagnosed at the hospital with PE in my right lung. I am 35, and had been having slight trouble breathing and mild to moderate chest pain for about 3 weeks prior to diagnosis, thought it was just a chest infection. I'm glad it was caught and that I am being treated with the medication. I am just frustrated that my breathing hasn't gotten any better, still can't get a full deep breath without struggling. My chest and mid-section feel tight and constricted. I know it might be stress and anxiety that is adding to my breathing trouble. I don't see the thrombosis specialist (with another Lung Scan) until the end of August. Will this breathing trouble and chest pain eventually improve??

kent engelke 5 years ago

February 2009 I had a tib/fib fracture, the result of a sking accident. I was rodded, screwed, and glued but was not put on blood thinners.

Approximately four weeks later I had several PEs, intially ignoring the pain thinking that they were kidney stones. Long and short the mortality statistics I was given when finally went to the doctor were frightening at best.

I was active marathon runner/triathete/adventure runner.

It has now been 26 months since my PE and through hard work and determination I am competing in a half ironman.

Like many, I battled shortness of breath (diagnosed with plurasy), chest pains, fatigue, etc.

I ignored or did not beleive any negative statements made to me by my doctors.

I was determined to overcome. While I am still not back to where I was, I feel confident that I can again be a competitive athlete and again qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Don't give up!!! You will be amazed at what the body can due! Don't be limited by any self prescribed limitations.

I have overcome major pulmonary issues AND major skeletal/neurlogical/muscular issues (told when broke my leg there would be a 50% chance I would not be able to run again)

Believe in yourself and you will overcome and live the life that you once lived!


P.S. My belief in a higher power is greater now than ever because it is only by divine intervention I survived both the sking accident and PEs. I must also write I am a managing director of financial organization that was experienced the brunt of the financil crisis, the financial crisis that occured at the same time as my health issues. NEVER STOP BELEIVING IN YOURSELF OR A HIGHER POWER. YOU CAN AND WILL OVERCOME. I DID AND SO CAN YOU!

Panioloflyer 5 years ago

Great story. Thanks for sharing. I too have been pushing forward, doing more and more to gat back the capabilities I once had. My PE was not as severe as some so it has been a bit easier to attain meaningful progress.

Thanks again

Tj 5 years ago

Things get better! An update here. It's been about 5 months since my Acute left pulmonary emboli. Five months on warifin. One trip back to the ER with that pain in the back. (determined to be muscleskelital) Fibromyalgia flare ups were much worse than before(the feeling of swallowing a knife) but have calmed down. I've learned to work with tylonal and tramadol when needed. The medical profession gives mixed messages. Do I stay on it for life, or go off it since there has been no reason found. I slowly began my outdoor activities (wearing protective clothing) In March I did two strenuous 4 hour hikes in one week. This weekend I kayaked a river for four hours. Yes you have to protect your body and avoid branches and briars but you can get your life back. I always wear gloves for yard work now, should have anyway. Anxiety does diminish. I have slowly begun to add the foods that are good for me back into my diet as well as some of the supplements I used to take. Suddenly I'm being told they will work aound me. Someone told me of a Coumidon Clinic Nurse in another town that is more of a specialist than most when it comes to blood thinners. If I speak with her and get any new information I will share it. My nurse at the Hemotology office has a blank stare when I ask questions. As many in the medical profession do. I still hate the fear of banging my head or tearing my leg open, but I do have some lack of worry about getting another clot.

HarleyGeorge 5 years ago

TJ and Kent, congrats on making so much progress. I'm going to try and stay positive and hopefully I too can recover as nicely over time. Thanks for the insights.

Dawn 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. Most of us go into this very scary experience completely blind and get a lot of mixed information, so we don't really know what to expect.

I'm about 4 months post-diagnosis, in my case it was a massive (whole left leg) DVT and multiple bilateral PEs. I started out the first month needing a wheelchair and by the next month graduated to a walker. I was in tremendous pain for those first two months and slowly weaned off the vicodin. I have to take the coumadin for 6 months, then they'll run a battery of tests to see where I'm at. At the moment I still experience "crashing" fatigue and bouts of SOB. I like to think I'm getting better. Even though it doesn't always feel that way.

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Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Dear readers,

I have an update for those of you who read the comments section. I have returned to taking college coursework. I am working full time and taking 11 credit hours of coursework. I am exhausted, but, it is in a good, healthy way. I still have to talk to one of my teachers. I never finished an incomplete that I took 2 years ago.

It is scary being back, but, not for the reasons that you are expecting. I have been taking classes for 2 quarters now. Last week was the first class that I am I taking back in THE BUILDING! I had to go up THE STAIRS to get to the class. Looks like I have very mild PTSD still. I felt my heart rate ramp up as I walked up THOSE STAIRS.

Why the capitals? On July 18 I was admitted into the hospital. The Monday prior (about 4 days as well as the previous weeks) I decided that I was in crisis when I couldn't walk up the stairs in my classroom building. i was too short of breath for one flight! That was when I called off work and then by Friday was in the ER.

I can do the stairs now. Without my biology book in my backpack I may be able to sprint them. haven't tried that yet.

Best wishes to all!


Dom 5 years ago

I am amazed at this site. Why is this the only resource available for recovering PE sufferers? I had massive bilateral PEs three months ago yesterday, following a broken ankle and a large DVT in my left leg. I just avoided having a thrombolectomy (where they stop and retart your heart) and was treated with clotbusting drugs (streptokinase) in a CCU. Heparin and this saved my life and I am now on Warfarin. Since then I have developed a strange condition that only seems to exist on this site!

What started as a feeling of general unease in my chest, with palpitations and fatigue, has now become chest pain. It's not too bad but it is worrying and...yes...worry makes it worse. This is not good as I have a high pressure job and though they were sympathetic when I was in hospital, they expect me to get better, not worse! I have had three follow ups - at the first one I had to insist on an echocardiogram, which turned out to be normal. The cardiologist just kept saying "come to the ER if there's a problem, as you're ECG is normal". But in the end he arranged for the echocardiogram. Blood tests then came back with high cholesterol and I have suddenly developed very high blood pressure (190/110) which he precribed me drugs for. I'm also now on anxiety medication. The third visit was by me to the ER once I started having the chest pains. This just confirmed that my blood pressure was high but tests, including D dimer and x Ray, were normal. The thing is I am doing cardio exercise every day for 25 minutes and swimming about 1000m four times a week. I am very overweight but I am losing weight, have stopped all alcohol and never feel better than when I am exercising. My chest pain comes from sitting down which suggests it is not caused by my heart/arteries. As soon as I do something it goes away or lessens. When seated, I never actually take faster breaths but I feel my airways are constricted sometimes. I know that this could be psychosematic but that doesn't help much. Does anyone else have this? As I do swimming I am hoping that this is just my soft intercostal muscles getting a reconditioning and aching as a result, but sometimes I think the pain is deeper than that (and anyway doesn't muscle pain eventually resolve?).

On top of this - despite a lack of feedback - my doctor told me that my PEs were so serious I should not fly for 6 months at least and possibly up to a year. That's tough because I live in Hong Kong and my kids live in England. But I can find no reference to this anywhere (although the cardiologist explained it was due to low oxygen saturation at altitude, whichy could cause rapid deterioration if my lungs were damaged - something which he said was impossible to assess).

When I stand back and look at all of this it strikes me that the medical profession really doesn't understand this condition very well. They know how to save your life. And I am grateful for that. But as to enabling you to make a full recovery, they really don't have much to say. I'm now realistic. I had thought after 3 months with a change of diet and an exercise regime I would be fully recovered. Now I know it will be much longer.

The strange thing is that I am fitter than ever but have this tight/constricted chest from time to time (but every day). So now I am settling in for the long haul. I am hoping for full recovery after 10-12 months. The psychological damage is immense. It just deflates me when I think of my future. Even though I can swim a kilometre in just over 30 minutes I have this self image as a disabled person. I have lost my career ambition and want to retire at the earliest opportunity (I am only 47) as mid afternoon at work I am tired and in discomfort. Any pressure - even nice pressure - leads to pain/tightness. I just don't feel up to ambition or dreaming. Why is there not more help when you consider how many of us are having these anxiety issues?

Kudos to lwelch for this site!

kent engelke 5 years ago


I just logged onto the sight following an email from another reader.

Like yourself, I had incredible chest pain that went away via exercise. Fortunately my doctor and orthopedist are both triathletes/adventure racers/marathoners that I had competed agianst.

Their advice was straight forward...relief of tightness via excerise is not blockage.

As I had already noted I am a managing director of a financial organization that bore the brunt of the issues of 2008-2009.

My doctors stated my chest tightness (ok pain) was a combination of the anxiety from my job and trauma.

Exercise was pivotal in overcoming this anxiety and was a major reason why I also overcame shortness of breadth.

Keep pushing forward. It will get better because we are determined to live our lives to the fullest. Life is not a spectator sport. Don't give up. Don't be limited by anyone's self prescribed limitations.

You will be surprised at what the body can do!


Dom 5 years ago


Thank-you. That message has really helped me.

I'm lucky actually. There are people on here with worse problems whose positive attitude is inspiring. I started feeling a bit sorry for myself. Thanks for snapping me out of it with your support (and thanks to the person who e-mailed you).

This site really restores your faith in people!

Let's all keep going...!


Laurie 5 years ago

Thanks for all of the information. I had a PE a couple days after coming home from the hospital after having a hysterectomy. I was a smoker! I have now quit! I often have pain in my legs and cannot get it to go away. I have had pain in my legs prior to surgery and PE! I have told my doctor but he did not seem to concerned. Shouldbinbe having this checked out further? I am now on Coumadin and Lovenox injections. I experienced anxiety since finding out about the PE and was taking Xanax, but I stoppedbthe Xanax because I was told that it is addictive. I have not smoked in over a week but I have to admit is very hard with all of the other stress added. Does anyone else experience constant lower leg pain?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi Laurie!

You might want to look up information on Post Thrombotic Syndrome. Another recent comment mentioned it. I think it will answer some of your questions about the leg pain.

As far as if you should get it checked out. It sounds like you are not satisfied by your doctor's answer. For that reason, I would see about getting a second opinion. Also, have you had an ultrasound done on your legs? That might give you some information as well. That would show any clots that may have contributed.

Xanax is addictive but there are other ways to work on anxiety. Xanax and the like are a fast fix so they are often used first as they are an instant treatment. Antidepressents such as the infamous Prozac work on anxiety as well. They will take longer to work. I had to change my meds after my PE as the old ones were no longer working.

I also recommend meditation. These are 2 good spots for free guided meditation recordings: and

Cara 5 years ago


I been diagnosed with both portal vein thrombosis as well as pulomnary embolism. After a five day stay in the hospital with Lovenox and Coumodin, my INR was above 2.5 and I was sent home. I have been having low grade fever (99 to 101 which keeps fluctuating. I feel quite tired and the back of my neck, my shoulders and head hurt. I have a cough and am not able to breathe to my full potential. They also said I am anemic with iron and B12 deficiency. Did anybody have similar effects and should I be worried about the fever. The docs said that i could have tylenol every 8 hours.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

I am not sure about the fever. I feel like I may have seen something about fever being a symptom of PE, but, you would want to double check that. Fatigue and breathing problems are a given for most people. You may have been anemic before the PE, or, the coumadin could be the cause. I would ask a pharmacist and your doctor. Ask why they think you have a fever and how long you may expect it to last. Also ask why they think that you are anemic and how they will treat it.

Rebecca 5 years ago

Some great encouraging comments here...and again, a lot of relief to hear that other people are experiencing similar things!

I posted about 4.5 months ago now. I had a pretty great recovery for the first 2 months - back to light exercise and everything - and then I got a respiratory infection just under 2 months ago. Since then, and despite 2 rounds of antibiotics, it's been a huge struggle. I have almost constant chest and back pain, mostly between my shoulder blades, and zero exercise tolerance. Taking a 15-min walk around the block is really difficult, and means more pain, coughing, shortness of breath and generally feeling like crap. Lwelch, my doctor did say my cough sounded asthmatic so I'm going to get that checked out! Also seeing a cardiologist next month to rule out any heart issues. (That's my biggest fear - how common are heart problems after PEs?)

But it's hard not to feel discouraged and permanently "disabled". I can no longer do all the things I used to love doing...hiking with the dog, walking to work, going to the gym, travelling. And my husband and I can't even think about starting a family anymore. Hopefully things will get better. At least I can work!!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Heart problems are common in massive PEs. An echocardiagram will show if the heart is enlarged from any extra work pushing blood through clot filled lungs.

The great news is you were in great shape for a while. Illness can really set you back. I had that happen.

I am glad that you are pursuing answers. That is your right as a patient! So many people don't do that.

I know allergies are really bad in Ohio this year due to all of the rain. The plants are flourishing! Your area may be having the same problem. If it is, I am sure that isn't helping any. Nothing like tree and grass pollen for a healing body :/

You will think about that family soon enough. You are still very new to recovery from the sounds of it. You will get back to where you were 2 months ago. I am sure that you are going to be fine. You had a setback, but you have some solid recovery history from before that setback. Also, you are working! That is great! Keep it up!

Bob 5 years ago

I'm a 49 year old male from Australia.

I woke up with chest pains and thought I'd pulled a muscle. The next day I could hardly breath. Went to the emergency ward and they told me I had a large clot in my left lung. I'd had multiple smaller ones in both lungs 12 months before and was on blood thinners for 6 months.

It's been two months since the clots and I still get chest pain and very short of breath. I haven't been back to work and I don't know when I will. It certainly didn't take this long to get better last time. Until I read your article and other people's comments I thought I was going mad.

I can't thank you enough for sharing your story. It's great to know that what I am going through is 'normal' and that there is an end to this.


What a relief

Anwar Dewsbury, Uk 5 years ago

Hi, hope someone can help. Had a PE in January been on warfarin since. My last 3INR have been 1.2 to 1.3, prior to that they have over 2. Not sure what's happening, currently taking 11mg daily. Spoke to the warfarin clinic, they don't seem worried as I am due to come off the tablets sometime in July.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

July is still a long time from now! If you are worried, I would be, and it seems you are, then, if possible, get a second opinion on your INR. If the doctor didn't care if your INR was one now, you would be off of coumadin now rather than July.

I was fine with INRs that were stable until about 6 months into treatment. It went down and all over the place. I still have no clue why. I also started having a lot of side effects. I don't know if my migraine meds built up and had problems, maybe the anti fungal lotions that I was using (I had more yeast skin infections while on coumadin!) were the problem... whatever it was, it can and did happen.

My low INR meant that I had to do more Lovenox injections to fly to Arizona. I had one other day as well that they were below 1.5. 1.5 was the point my hemotologist cared and was worried about clotting.

Shannon 5 years ago

I was 23 years old when I was rushed to hospital after fainting twice in a row, and on the 2nd time, lost consciousness for what seemed to my fiancé minutes. I couldn't take a single step without loosing my breath, and was so scared.

I just passed my 1 year since diagnosis. And as of three days ago, I am now off coumadin (the brand of warafin I was on). I am finding it slow going, and read that you can suffer withdrawal like symptoms, and I'm feeling them bad today!

I am so happy to be here :)

STEVE1973 5 years ago

I would add a brief comment to the very well observed posts. My experience was a real shock to me. I was training for a marathon and made the mistake of believing my GP that I was fine to travel long haul with a chest infection.....big mistake. Some 4 months after I returned, I collapsed with a suspected torn aorta and was half an hour away from open heart surgery when the CT scan revealed the PE. After a week in hospital unable to move and slowly buidling up my O2 levels I came out nd what followed was a long but ultimately successful recovery. I had 6 months of warfarin, an effective but side-effect laden drug which burdened me with sharp headpain, chest pain, palpatations and stomach pain. Although it was tough to discern where the warfarin stopped and the PE pain began, I had a marked improvement when it was withdrawn. That said I had 7 months in surgical stockings due to the leg pain and pain around my genitals. When that became unbearable [month 6-7]I took them off and noted an immediate improvement. Their therapeutic properties had now passed and I was on the way. It is now 14 months after my experience. It was a long road and one where I was convinced I would never be without pain. The three things which have been instrumental in my recovery?? [1] Rest [2] compression stocking and [3] and in my opinion the most dramatic....a high dose of serrapeptase. I was given this by an alternative health practitioner [I was a sceptic]. This is an enzyme found in silk worms apparently. It has healing properties of low and behold...the vascular system. I took this for three months intensively and still take a low dose. The pain is now gone and I am back training for that marathon, this time without the long haul flight.

Do not think that you are alone or that you will not recover. What worked for me may not help you but I now feel normal again after convincing myself I had a life of pain ahead of me at 35 years old!

Sharon 5 years ago

What a great site! Like so many here I was looking for recovery info! 17 months ago I had sepsis ended up in ICU for 3 days and spent 3 weeks in hosp. In Mar of this year started feeling short of breath, got worse wnd worse until I couldn't take a shower without stopping several times to catch my breath, back and forth to Dr no answers! Went to see dr specializing in lungs (?) He sent me for CT and I was told I had significant bilateral PE's (they called them horse shoe? Up one lung across and down the other one? )Rushed straight to ER and spent 18 days in hosp, INR was ok but O2 sats were 83% on room air for awhile, that's what kept me in hosp. Now I'm home, on wafarin, INR is good but I'm still short of breath and scared to death!! I had no surgery, no DVT's and they have no idea what caused my PE's! Will be going to see hematologist and back to lung dr ( he called me tough when he saw me in hosp the next day, I think he was suprised I wasn't dead or hadn't shown up in the ER a long time ago:( ) I'm afraid something really bad will happen, although I feel better being on the warfain but am scared about what will happen when I stop! Thank's for the info I'm glad that the tiredness (which wasn't better since sepsis) Is a part of this and that it could take a year. It seemed like I wasn't getting anywhere fast! but now no this can be normal:). Like other have said it's hard to find that info on recovery, I found the same thing about sepsis, no recovery info...if you know of any sepsis info let me know:)

Sharon 5 years ago

Forgot to add to above:) I had symptoms in Mar, but not diagnosed until May, hosp May 6 so it's just been a couple of weeks since d/c from hosp.


Duane 5 years ago

This is a wealth of info. i am a or was a healthy 43 y/o male. I just had a 5 day hospital stay for PE's. It took msny doctor and ER visits for them to find them. Its been 3 weeks now and I still get weak quickly. It seems like some days are better than others. It is very frustrating. I was very active pre-PE, I have lost some of the muscles I built through weightlifting. Finally getting my appetite back. Is this the NORM???

thanks for the help!

Rebecca 5 years ago

Hey Duane, that is totally normal. But be prepared for a longer journey to can be really hard when you're used to being active. I did regular weight-lifting & cardio work pre-PE, and now at the 5-month mark I am still at the "slow walking" stage. Going to try isolation exercises too, to build up muscle again. But the reality is (as I'm discovering) that getting back to my normal athletic pursuits is going to be a long tough road, with lots of pain and discouragement along the way. Hang in there.

Dom 5 years ago

I am at 4 months today. Without exercise my lungs start to ache and so I work out twice a day (once in the pool and once in the gym). I am the fittest I have been for a long time but worried about long term lung damage caused by the PE.

My doctor told me not to fly for at least six months and that I would be on Warfarin for a year minimum. He said my DVT PEs were massive. But at my last visit he said he didnt need to see me for 2 months as my recovery was good. He said reason for not flying was not a risk of clots but that the cabin pressure is the same as at the top of a mountain and I could get into breathing difficulties. He also said that there was no way to know if my lungs were damaged or not as there was no reliable way of scanning lungs. This all sounds fishy to me. I live in Hong Kong and there is very little culture of challenging your doctor. He takes it as criticism when I ask him questions - and replies that "any doctor will tell you the same". You are supposed to just do as your told no questions. I would go private but he is a cardiologist in a top hospital which my "private" GP has recommended. Has anyone else been given a flight ban? Can anyone shed any light?

Rosanne 5 years ago

I never had high blood pressure before my PE of 18 months ago. Drs. told me hypertension has nothing to do with the PE. I had my pharmacist run a "possible reaction" list for the 3 meds. I'm on and guess what-Warferin can cause severe hypertension rarely. This reaction is not in the booklet that came with the med. Now I will have to approach my cardiologist with this info. I'm hoping there will be a dif. med I can take in replacement and hopefully the hypertension will go away.

Dom 5 years ago


I had very high blood pressure (190/110) even after medication. This was when I had chest pains and went to the ER. Maybe this is due to warfarin - it crossed my mind - but it was also possibly due to me being totally stressed out with worry. But it has reduced now. The Emergency Room doctor told me that BP taken at the hospital was largely useless as patients stress levels push it up. He suggested buying my own machine and taking it when I was calm. It seems to have just lowered by itself now I take it at home (I'm still on anti hypertension medication). I think a lot of the high BP is psychological: based on how anxious you are. Post PE is massively stressful, so it might be this. If there is no alternative to warfarin available (I assume you don't want to take Heparin injections) then I suggest you just ask your doctor to give you meds to control your blood pressure and monitor your BP at home until the meds bring the BP down. It should be possible for your doctor to get your BP down to normal levels with drugs.

Brannon 5 years ago

I am around the sixth month marker post PE treatment and my lungs still feel very weak. still have shortness of breath, racing heart, and my vision tends to white-out when my heart rate rises. Does anyone else have the white-out vision problem?

DiNMontana profile image

DiNMontana 5 years ago

Roseanne, I'd really like to know what you find out about the blood pressure issue. I had very very average blood pressure and now I have high blood pressure after taking Coumadin. I've been off of it for 3 weeks now. Going back to the Dr. tomorrow so I'm interested to see if my blood pressure has decreased.

Jenny  5 years ago

I must add my thank you for this webpage and all these comments. I stupidly got on a flight after a week of being in bed with a respiratory infection, with a fever and having some sort of reaction to something (still unidentified) which caused a severe all over rash. I was pretty ill anyway and then I got multiple PE's because of that flight.

I am home now after 2.5 weeks in hospital and was expecting to be able to do so much more. The psychological side of it is the hardest. Someone mentioned dread and that definitely was the key that sent me to my GP who sent me to ER. Now I just have this anxiety that I will never be properly okay again and the frustration is enormous! But hearing everyone's stories is motivating, comforting and reassuring.

Thank you to everyone here who has been so open and clear about their experiences. I am going to stop beating myself up and just take it a day at a time. Thank you

buddyboy54 5 years ago

as a relatively healthy 56 year old male,I was recently hospitalized w/dvt and pe in both lungs. I spent 4 very miserable days in the hospital,had the worst possible experience with a doctor in my entire life. I arrived at hospital at 11 p.m. by ambulance because I could not get my breath and had the most unbearable pain under my right arm, after 2 ekg's anumber of blood tests including d-dimer,which indicated p.e. ,a cat scan w/contrast confirmed significant blood clots in both lungs.Upon admission to the hospital at 6 am saturday morning ,nurse told me that I would have echo done on my heart and dopler study done on my legs that morning. The echo did not happen until late in the day on sunday and the dopler on my legs did not happen until monday morning,so for over 60 hours I had no idea where this blood clots had come from. I was very upset with the doctor and the PA that was supposed to be my care takers. I was om a heparin drip for several days in the hospital and was allowed to walk around on the hospital unit w/my i.v. machine in tow. After reading many posts on this blog it seems as if I should have been restricted to bed rest until the cause of the clots discovered. The more that I read,the more frustrated I become. I feel as if the doctor and pa could have cared less about me. They gave me no guidance,no encouragement,the doctor actually never physically touched me. The most frightening part of the entire experience was lying on a gurney in the emergrncy room,having a doctor that you have never seem before,tell you in broken english"you gonna be on coumadin for rest of your life". I have run the gammut of emotions from breaking down and crying,which by the way is something I was taught not to do at a very young age, to screaming in anger at someone that works for my insurance carrier. The emotioms are still very raw at this time,me left leg is very swollem so I have begun wearing compression stocking on that leg,seems to help w/the pain. all of this happened on 6/17/11 thanks to all that contibute to this blog as it has provided more info than any doctor or medical profession as to date for me. Sorry if I have rambled,my mental capacity seems to have been affected to a signicicant degree as well as my physical health has suffered greatly.A sincere thanks to all of you folks and God Bless

Gee Fav 5 years ago

I'm so happy I found this story!!!! Thank you soooo much for sharing. My mom was just diagnosed with PE on 7/11/11 after a surgery she had two weeks prior. She suffered with a fever for a week before she went to the hospital where they told her she had 2 blood clots on her lung and 1 in her leg. I really needed to know what to expect. This is going to be a very long journey but I'm glad I had some insite on what to expect. She was given Heprin after her surgery which caused an allergic reaction which decreased her platelet count. She was given Argatroban yesterday which is suppose to run for 24 hours. I'm praying everyday that she has a speedy recovery!

Murph 5 years ago

Thank you for writing this......I just got home from the hospital 2 days ago......your story ..up to this point a mirror image of what happened to I have and idea of what the next year may hold...thanks again.

blessedPEsurvivor 5 years ago

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for sharing your story. It has helped me more than anything else I've read thus far. I have been out of the hospital 5 days now after suffering 2 PE. You have so much valuable information and I appreciate it so very much. I've pretty much been numb since the diagnosis. Everything has happened so fast and I've yet to deal with my emotions. This has really helped me know that I can survive this and there is hope. My pulminologist says I've got a long road ahead of me, but I feel like I can handle it now. Thanks again for sharing your story...I am very grateful!! God bless you!

Ramona 5 years ago

I wanted to know since writing this how have your symptoms come and gone... I've been off Coumadin for 4 months now.. And along with the coming and going of anxiety I still have times where I literally sit and wait out an anxiety attack.. Heart races, I get light headed and dizzy... It's almost to the point where I keep my discomfort to myself because I know there's nothing any one can do... My good days far out weigh my bad days... But my bad days suck!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

After about 1.5-2 years I really stopped having symptoms. I felt a LOT better after coming off of the coumadin. I notice things like shortness of breath more now but I believe that is because my brain knows what it is like to not breathe. I am more aware of my body but otherwise doing well. After I got off the Coumadin I ran the parking lot where I work. I hate running, but, that one time, I celebrated the ability to breathe!

SJ 5 years ago

As many before me has said, this is a wonderful site. I am a nurse and have been for 40 plus years. I, as a clinician, had no idea what a pulmonary emboli would do to your body and mind. I am a workaholic and have been off work for 10 weeks. I know my body needed to recover, so I have tried to be a "good" patient (most nurses aren't good) and do as my doctor has instructed. I am now ready (think I am) to go back to work starting with half days. The reason for searching for this site has been due to the issues of dealing with my company's carrier for our Short Term Disability (STD). They will approve for a few weeks and then I have to have the doctor(s) submit clinicals explaining why I am not returning to work. I now understand that they (STD associaties) know probably less than I know about the recovery time and what we go through during the recovery. There are no resources for them to reference. I keep telling them I have shortness of breath, pain on breathing (dyspnea),tachycardia, lighheadiness and fatigue doing activities such as showering, dressing, etc. I get the feeling from them that they think, my symptoms are in my head. I do have some depression and anxiety along with the other symtoms. Reading the comments I am also realizing that I have other symptoms as well, the abdominal pain, shoulder and back pain and especially the sweating at night, which are related to the PEs. My pulmonologist and cardiolgist both have told me it would be at least a year before I really begin to feel like I did before the PEs. Until I read everyones postings, I did not want to believe it would take that long. I had large, multiple PEs in both lungs. I had a "stupid" moment and traveled (for work) 2 weeks after having my meniscus repaired. It was a 4 hour trip and not being "patient" I wanted to get the trip over. So I drove 4 hours straight, no stops and one week later did the same on the return trip. Won't make that mistake again! Again....thank you.

Ramona 5 years ago

That's good to hear... I am going for my 6 months check up Monday... I think once I see all of my scans and xrays come back anxiety may stop... Like all have said Thank you for posting this...

Steph  5 years ago

Thank you , Thank you ,Thank you!!!!

I had mine about 5 weeks ago now, one week in hospital and a very long way to go on warfarin... it seems my condition is genetic ( my paternal Grandmother had one and my Father has vein issues too)also I may have suffered a mini stroke about 11 yrs ago when I was about 22 so it looks like clotting is going to be an issue for me.

Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together as (as you said ) nobody is able to predict just how long it will be before you'r able to do everyday things without pains and shortness of breath.

Thanks, Steph.

cynthia 5 years ago

I am a 58 year old hyper medical worker. Had inner ear infection, then 4 wks of chonic cough, then developed shortness of breath, exhaustion past 4 wks Finally my boss said not to come back to work until I see a MD and get a real diagnosis. She saved my life. Went back to MD, they sent me to stat CT scan, went to ER, stayed 5 days and now I am post hosp 4 days. My mother died of this and I have been so emotional Chest pains occur and make me think I am having a heart attack. These comments have helped me realize this is a common side effect. I am not sure how long I need to be off work , my MD stated at least 2 wks. however I am worried, I am due to go to a seminar in 18 days, that worries me and also fly to Las

Vegas for wori in November I feel the need to say no at this point, just have a fear of leaving my area. Any thoughts? I have had to take Lovenox and Coumadin trying to get adjusted.

Thanks for this site, sometimes just to vent and share what is oon my mind is helpful

wayne 5 years ago

hello and many thanks for this wonderfull site, its been 9 weeks since i was diagnosed with a massive P.E. in my lung and like many others on here it has scared me to the point where i do not want to close my eyes at night for fear of not waking up the next morning. i have been constantly reasured by doctors and nurses that the worst is over and if the woest was going to happeen it would have happened by now but i just cant seem to believe it (as much as i want to!!!) i hope this gets easier because at the moment i am a nervous wreck!

dave 5 years ago

thanks to all for your answers and help. This information is for those who experience PE and live in AZ, TX, CA. I was diagnosed and receiving treatment for Valley Fever, a lung condition caused by a fungual infection common to the areas noted. When I complained about pains in my legs, my concerns were dismissed as common symptoms of VF. During doctor visits over six months, I also expressed concern about pains in my brestbone. Since muscle, joint, and bone aches are common symptoms of FV no remedies were advised. On one visit, I mentioned an extreme pain in my rib cage, but again it was not considered unusual for my condition so no action was taken. On my last visit before leaving for vacation, I explained that I had started to cough up blood spots. I ct scan that day found clots in both lungs and I was immediately admitted to the hospital. I share this information to make two points that I leearned. First, it is easy to dismiss symptoms when you are already being treated for an existing condition. Ask yourself if you did not have the first condition, what action would you take when these "new" symptoms showed up. Second, I trusted that my doctors knew more than I did about how I was feeling. When the pain or fatigue tells you that something is wrong, persist on making sure that your doctor considers your symptoms as completely separate from the existing condition and performs the appropriate tests. In my case, I had DVT's and the outcome could have been much worse than it turned out to be.

Thankful 2 b here2 5 years ago

I was so thankful to find this forum to read that others have had similar experiences and what to expect in recovery. I also suffered a PE three weeks ago. I am 43 and had no sugeries or injuries prior to this. I felt dizzy, nauseous, faint and experienced rapid heart beat and shortness of breath. This went on for about seven days, I thought I had some kind of virus. I went to my pcd she ran blood and urine tests as well as an EKG all were normal she sent me home. Two days later I felt worse like I was going to pass out I called my husband my mom and my pcd. She advised me to go to the ER again more tests a chest x-ray EKG blood and urine tests all were normal. 6 hours later they were going to send me home just as a precaution they ran a Ddimer and it was positive a CT scan showed I had a PE was admitted for three days with lovenox

Thankful 2 b here 2 5 years ago

And coumadin. I had severe anxiety and had body shakes and racing heart beat. Then they thought my pancreas was enlarged so I got more scared I have three children and a husband to take care of I prayed to live to see them all. When I was released I still had the shakes dizzy spells and an anxiety. Three weeks later I am still tired but feeling better. This seems to be a slow process and my INR rates fluctuate but I guess that is normal. They do not know why the PE happened. I guess they can run more tests once I am off the coumadin. I am praying for all of you and when my kids come to me for a story or kiss I hug them a little longer and thank God I am here. I don't sweat the little things. We are leaving to go to Michigan in one week I must admit I am a little anxious but we plan to take frequent stops and I hope all goes well :) I am taking one day at a time and hoping to regain the strength to be normal at some point. Thanks again for sharing!

lucky2bhere 5 years ago

I am so happy to find that I am only feeling what so many others are and so very thankful for this site. I was hospitalized 3 wks ago with multiple PE in both lungs after left leg swelled but nothing was found after 2 ultrasounds. Had chest pain and shortness of breath for over a week and one previous trip to E/R by ambulance thinking I was having a heart attack. They then only found that my potassium was low and decided to disregard the real reason I was there and pumped me full of potassium and sent me home. Lucky for me the second time around I had a young PA who actually listened and did a CT scan and found that I had the clots. I spent four days in hospital and did not feel as though I was well enough to leave when they said time to go home and every day is now hit or miss. I have terrible pain in my left lower rib front and back.Doctor says it is Chest wall syndrome. Had a repeat CT no additional clots, however the ones I have are not dissolving. See Dr. Blood again next week again and hopefully someone has suggestions. This has really drug me down. I have had many surgeries in the past and misc. issues and always bounced right back in a hurry. It isn't happening this time. My INR is finally at 2.5 and hoping it stays that way. Another check again tomorrow and I will attempt a half day at work for the first time since the PE. It does make me feel better to know that this drug down feeling seems to be expected. Just glad to still be around to whine about. Thank you all for the great info.

Rebecca Aus 5 years ago

Like everyone else, I'm so pleased I found this page. Am 36yo female diagnosed with multiple and large PE in both lungs 3 weeks ago.

I'm still experiencing some chest pain, shortness of breath and get tired more easily these days but the great thing is I'm alive and on the mend.

One thing I can't seem to find though is that is it common to bleed daily? I don't normally have regular periods and the blood isn't fresh (red). I've bled since I've been on Clexain injections and coumadin. I'm assuming it's the clots "breaking down" but can't be sure.

I'm going to see my GP anyway but wondered if this is normal in the recovery process of PE.

Many thanks...

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

New record!124 hits in one day!!! Thanks to all!

I don't think it is the clots breaking down, but I could be wrong. Menstrual blood is not really just blood. A lot of clots from it are actually tissue.

Were you are hormonal contraception before? If you were, the removal of that can cause spotting. Warfarin (coumadin) can cause increase in days and/or amount in some lucky women. (

I can't find anything on Clexane but there are a lot of questions online that say "can clexane cause irregular menstrual bleeding" or something like that.

Ask your pharmacist (chemist) or GP and let us, or just me, know.

wayne 5 years ago

er ok thanks

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

For all people new to clots, check out my first new hub in over a year!

Rebecca Aus 5 years ago

Hi Again,

What I have really loved is that over a year on from your experience, you still take time to read and respond...that's incredibly generous of you. Thanks

I went to my GP who said it is very common for women who are on Warfarin for their menstrual bleeding to increase dramatically and/or the length of time increases.

HOwever, if it does go on longer than 3-4 weeks then it's best to get a referral from your GP to a Gynocologist to have it checked.

I previously had a Mirena coil insterted, then after having it removed (after 5 years) went on the pill for 5 months. A week before I had the PE, I had a new coil inserted. The Mirena is not associated with the PE, and process of elimination will come down to either genetics or that I was on the Oral Pill for that period of time.

I've learned many things over the course of the last few weeks, but it has also stressed how important it is to know your family medical history. Unfotunately both my parents have passed and I never knew much about their medical history. It was only through a relative that I found out that clotting is common in my family.

Many thanks again for your contribution and responses - it has been most helpful.



Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Thank you Rebecca! For the update and complement. This site is very important to me. Over 40,000 people have read it. That isn't even counting the slideshow visitors. I am also in the coveted rank 1 on google for multiple key words. I have had readers email me with progress. It feels great! I hope to have a stand alone and a book someday. For now, hub pages is easy and I have an audience. Only down is no discussion board.

I have a mirena as well. Progesterone only hasn't been linked to clots so I finally let my hemo and obgyn talk me into it.

If you haven't had blood and genetic testing done, I recommend it. Most needs to done once you are off of blood thinners. It will help you decide if you want lifelong or as needed blood thinner use.

Best wishes and thanks for the update! Feel free to email me with questions or updates.

Duane 5 years ago

Thankful 2 b here 2,

please know that your not alone. i was a healthy 43 y/o male. i had multiple PE's. It took many doctors and ER visits for them to find them. Acutally found it by walking me 2 steps with a pulse/ox on my finger, O2 droped it like its hot (lol) I had no surgery or anything to indicate a problem, My muscle tone went so quickly.Its been 2 months now and I am getting stronger slowly, walking and light weightlifting. It seems like some days are better than others. It is very frustrating.


hang in there, and my prayers are with you all.


Hannah 5 years ago

Hi, I am 28 years old and 3.5 months pregnant. This response really helped calm my nerves a lot. I was so concerned as to why the deferred pain in my shoulder was still there. I have still kept my doctors informed but every case is different. My bilateral PE began one morning when I woke up and attempted to yawn and taking a deep breath felt like a stabbing under my ribs. It was 5am in the morning and I assumed I was pregnant and had a oddly placed pocket of gas trapped, so I let it be. At 8am however, I woke up and had severe shoulder and back pain. I was stiff like I'd heard a heart attack makes you feel. My mother in law is a nurse, but told me after 4 hours of pain that I should just go to the ER. I got there and they did a chest scan and thought it was pleurisy. They prescribed me with percoset which bothered me dice it's a narcotic and I was pregnant, however the pain was so intense I started with half a pill and had to eventually get my dose up to the full 2 pills. They also gave me a rx to go get a VQ scan but my pain was so severe on Monday, I asked to reschedule for Tuesday. My obgyn called me Tuesday afternoon and said "get to the ER, idk why I have this feeling but I really just want you in there tonight for a CT scan. If this is a clot it can kill you! I'm not trying to scare you. Just know the severity an I do not want to chance this. Im calling in the arrangements." I got to the Hospital and was fit in quickly, and 15 minutes later I was admitted to CCU with 2 clots and partial lung collapse in my left lung and one clot in my right. The girl who did my CT scan was 3 weeks farther along than myself and she said "you're lucky, I had a stroke 6 weeks ago bc of this bc I ignored the pain". It's amazing how something I never heard of could be something that changed my life. I now had have to do blood work once every 3 weeks at the hematologist and have to give myself subcutaneous shots of lovenox twice a day. But nothing is as scary as what the alternative could be, so I do it without complaint or qualm. I'm eager for the pain to go away, as trying to sleep when youre pregnant is difficult enough without shoulder pain, but other than that, I'm hoping to have no other issues with blood clots after the pregnancy!

Erica 5 years ago

My husband Michael had his knee scoped and was diagnosed with a massive DVT a week after the surgery. He was admitted to the hospital, put on a heparin drip and sent home on coumadin and lovenox injections the following morning. I can relate to what everyone says about being home. Mike was happy to be home, but I was a nervous wreck, and rightfully so! At 5 AM, less than 24 hours from the time we were sent home, I was calling 911. My husband was diagnosed with a PE in the right lung. A week later, he was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism infarction. That was two weeks ago. I have been with my husband for nearly 20 years now, and at 37 years old, I can count on one hand the number of times he has been sick. Very stong, highly athletic, he has his own gym in our house! Now he gets winded walking across the room. He is very weak, always tired, and the pain is so bad, he cannot sleep without pain meds. What he wants more than anything is to FEEL BETTER! Your stories have provided much insight. Thank you :)

GraceAnne profile image

GraceAnne 5 years ago

Thank you so much for this information. I am deeply distraught right now. My mother is currently unconscious with assisted breathing. She was brought in by my uncle after she called him saying something was very wrong. By the time they got her to the hospital she started getting worse and the had to perform CPR to get her stable enough to find out what was going on. They found a blot clot (not sure how big) in her lung and proceeded to treat it (not sure with what.) They said that what they treated her with caused some bleeding in her brain, so they needed my uncle to sign papers allowing them to give her medication to reverse the prior medication. By this point I was really confused (still am sorta) as to what in the world was going on. So now they are just monitoring her and will perform a CT in the morning. I have no idea what questions to ask or how to think or what the heck to do. She is in a California hospital and I live in North Carolina as a single mother and seriously don't have to cash to fly out. My uncle is Filipino so he can only understand but so much and I've been talking to the nurse on the phone. They say for me to call back by noon tomorrow and they'll have the results of the CT. If only I was there.. this is so hard..

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author


I am so sorry. My thoughts are with you.

It sounds like they gave her a clot buster to break up the clot in her lungs and allow oxygen to reach her blood. This is done in an emergency when the body is receiving no oxygen due to the clot. The big risk with clot busters is that they can cause bleeding. This is why they are reserved for emergency use only. At least this is my layman's understanding of them.

You just need to ask about recovery. It sounds like she may be fighting a few things. I will list what is common so that you can think it over or do research.

1. possible heart damage from trying to push blood through the clot in the lungs

2. possible lung damage

3. possible brain damage from lack of oxygen

4. possible clots elsewhere (where did the ones in her lungs form)

5. Possible brain damage from what was essentially a stroke

GraceAnne profile image

GraceAnne 5 years ago

None of that sounds very good at all.. Thank you for your honest and quick response. I'm about to call the nurse to get an update before her CT. I will be sure to research and ask about these things.

Erica 5 years ago

Just got back from the doctor. Mike no longer has any breath sounds coming from the lower lobe of the right lung. They say it is unlikely that this infaction in the result of the initial pulmonary embolism alone. He most likely suffered additional embolisms at some point, leading to this infarction. They are talking about doing a repeat scan to check the lungs and heart. His first scan was July 21st. Is it too soon to do another, or is this one of those situations where the benefit outweighs the risk? Also, I understand recovery is going to be long and difficult, but is my husband in the recovery stage or is he still very much in danger? So hard to get these kinds of answers from the doctors...

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Would treatment change if the ct shows more clots? If yes then consider it. If he is getting more clots while on blood thinners you need to know why and if the blood thinners are working.

If you are only dealing with the original clots he is likely on the mend, if there are new clots I am guessing it could be rough.

I think the main question is what is happening and why and what may treat or prevent further clots.

Hang in there and best wishes!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

You're welcome. Ask a lot of questions and hang in there. My thoughts are with you. If you go to my profile you can dig through my other articles. There are ton of great sites that will have the resources that you will need to learn more.

Erica 5 years ago

Thank you so much for your input! It is amazing that you continue to help so many people years after your ordeal. WHat an angel you are... So I looked into the questions you posed and I have some answers for you. Mike had his knee scoped on July 12th. The DVT was diagnosed a week later, on the 19th. He suffered a PE on the 21st. On the 22nd, around midnight and 4 AM, Mike woke from a sound sleep, unable to breathe. The pain was excruciating; even moreso than the initial PE. The doctors said it was possible that he suffered additional PEs at that time, but they could not do another scan because one had been done the day prior, and they were concerned about the stress the dye would put on the kidneys. Treatment, as they explained, would be the same regardless. (1 PE or 3) Here's where the difference comes in though... On the 31st of July, Mike was diagnosed with a PE infarction. This past Monday it was confirmed that the infarction was quite significant, and Mike no longer has any breath sounds coming from the lower lobe of the right lung. Looking back at the scans and testins, it is highly unlikely that this infarct was the result of the initial PE, as that clot was very small. So Mike most likely did indeed suffer additional PEs within the first 24 hours of the first. Am I right to say that that would fall under the category of original clots, or would you consider them new clots? He still has a massive DVT in the left leg. (From the bottom of the foot to the back of the knee.) His INR is 1.5, he has an appointment with the pulmonologist and hemotologist next week. They said they are going to do a breathing test. (Not sure which one...) The doctors say all of the above is the result of Mike's knee surgery. He is in constant pain, and just wants to get better! From what we were told, recovery is going to be a long and difficult process, and even when he gets better; BETTER will most likely not be what he once was. However, in the end - HE IS HERE, and from what we understand, he is quite fortunate that is indeed the case. Thanks again for your input, and thank you for providing an outlet where I can vent, ask questions and read other people's stories. It has been a tremendous help.

Derek 5 years ago

Hello everyone.. I wanted to say 1st of all Great website, tyvm Lwelch! I moved from Florida to Boulder Colorado about 6-7 months ago and had a DVT in my left calf it was never fully dissolved (so to speak) so it ended up going into both of my lungs and I now have a bilateral PE and im only 21 years old. Ive been taking blood thinner shots (here it's called Fragmin) for 2 days so far and i still have 5 to go as well as im taking Coumadin for the next 6 months.. It's been a major wake up call for me and im still really nervous.. My question is and maybe you can put my mind at ease is... Is there a risk of dying of the PE now that ive been on Coumadin and Fragmin? I am just nervous that my blood clot will move to my heart causing a heart attack or to my brain causing a stroke.. If there is no chance of that at this point i would really love to know TY again for the input and the website.. Goodbye everyone.


Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

My understanding is that there is a risk that it could move but it is very very low. The lungs are a filter. Blood goes through your lungs before your brain. Your lungs catch the clots. Blood then moves to your brain. Typically the worst thing that can happen with a venous clot is that it can get in your lungs. That has already happened and you survived! Yea! I remember my mom asking that same question to multiple doctors when I was in the hospital. Still, know when to take yourself to the emergency room. If you have increased pain, worsening of clot symptoms in legs or lungs, problems breathing, or any signs of a stroke such as numbness or speech problems then go to the er. That is true for anyone though. I made two er visits post clots and was fine both times but the er is better than dead!

You are young. If you don't have a hematologist yet, I recommend one. A hospital nurse told me that. I asked for a referral, got a hematologist, he found my clotting disorder and also kept me on warfarin for a year rather than the typical 6 months due to the severity of my clots.

You made it through the worst. Your pe was diagnosed. Most deaths from pe happen because they were never even diagnosed. If you have more questions doctors are your friend. If you don't get good enough answers , get a new doctor or two. Also, feel free to drop me a line. I have been there.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for the update. You have some great information. That does sound like it is from the original clot. Especially as you noted he still has clotting in his leg. This means pieces of it can break off and move. I was on bed rest when I was in the hospital until they knew my legs were clear. It was awful! I know that they are treating leg clots with localized clot busters that are threaded through the leg to the clot. You may want to ask about that research. It has bleeding risks but they are less as the medication is localized. Early research was showing less after clot problems. Compression hose and a vena cava filter are other treatments that I often hear about. The support group I have a link for somewhere on here is a great place to ask about that stuff.

No doctor ever told me I had an infarct but, I did have a collapsed lung due to lack of oxygen. I never had a fourth scan once I felt better so I have no clue how that healed.

Ideas to get stamina back will eventually be walking, a typical exercise heart monitor watch can help him judge how strenuous he is walking and what progress is made, meditation CDs with breathing exercises may be good even now, yoga may help later, also you may have a pulmonary rehab program in your area. I never needed it. I did the walking and the meditation though. Time was the best medicine of all.

Best wishes! Feel free to use the email link here if you need more help navigating the medical mazes.

Dom 5 years ago

Erica. I had a pulmonary infarction. Maybe my experience will help a little. I had been in hospital about 24 hours and was being treated with a clot busting drug when I deteriorated. My lungs started filling with water. I was given diuretics (make you urinate) and sent for a second scan (the first one 24 h earlier had diagnoses massive biltaral PEs). I was then visited by a cardiothorassic surgeon who told me that there had been pulmonary infarction and that this meant some of my lungs had died (infarction means "tissue death"), but he was more worried about my heart which would be under pressure if it didn't get oxygenated blood. Because I had just had a clotbuster he didn't want to operate (do an embolectomy) but he was thinking about it (ie: he considered that I had at least a 15% chance of dying). Afterwards my doctor told me that the ICU nurses were very worried about me at this stage.

Anyway, shortly after I went to sleep (on maximum oxygen) and woke up in the morning feeling much better. My recovery had started. The clotbuster had worked and oxygenated blood had reached my heart. Throughout all of this the nurses and doctors had reacted very coolly, and at no time did I really ever feel that I was in danger. It's only with hindsight that I understand what was happening. This was very good nursing as there would be nothing worse than having a panic attack thinking you are going to die when you are on maximum oxygen and your heart is not getting oxygenated blood.

I think if the crisis is now over and your husband can breathe then there is not that much to worry about. Since my "crisis" doctors continually play down the pulmonary infarction and its effect now. Not because it isn't serious, but because there's nothing they can do about it. They refuse to test my lungs saying that it's pointless. They are not clear whether the lungs will recover but they are clear that most people have far more lungs than they need. Sometimes when its a particularly humid or airless day I feel breathless, but you know maybe I always felt like that. I exercise now far more than before. Generally with PE once they get you through the worst you get better. It's just a long and uphill struggle and as people on here explain it's an emotional rollercoaster. I'm at 6 months now and I'm still not 100%. But I am at 90% so I just have to be more patient. I'm lucky my partner is very understanding and supportive. It seems your husband is lucky too.

Mike 5 years ago

Hello everyone and thank you for sharing your stories, as well as responding to mine. My wife Erica has been writing for the past couple of days. I'm 37 years old. I've never really been sick or hurt prior to this. I had my knee scoped last month. The surgery resulted in a massive DVT in my left leg. They say it is a complete blockage. DVT caused numerous PEs. PEs caused infarction. I went for a repeat scan last night. That scan revealed a patially collapsed lung and lots of fluid. I am extremely tired and weak. I cannot get comfortable. I cannot sleep. It hurts when I breathe. I cough a lot. I'm currently running a low-grade fever. What's next? I have no idea what to expect anymore and it's very overwhelming.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Hang in there. It is just the beginning. The mental scars are all I carry now. At 2 years I was well. My doctors were guessing one year but I kept getting sick. I saw someone mention that we have "extra" lungs. My gramma had most of one of hers removed due to cancer. She was out of breath and very tired at first but after time passed she was great. She quit smoking at that time and could breathe better after surgery than before.

The best advice is ask questions and make sure you get the answers. If the answers don't work, advocate for yourself and ask more questions of more people.

A good article on pe can be found at

Emedicine is an amazing site and is authoritative.

The best info I can find on lung infarction is

I found great support at

If you want, use my email from this site and ask questions.

Ian 5 years ago

really glad I stumbled across this site, I had a massive PE around 4 weeks ago, and 11 days before that I had just been discharged from a 7 day stay in hospital due to rather severe case of pneumonia!...I am only 33 years old, and really didnt expect these problems at my age...I was a smoker, and am overweight...but otherwise I was active and healthy, I have been off work now for almost 2 months and am getting really fed up!...since the PE my recovery seems to be very slow! it was a severe case, and the doctor was amazed I was alive as I had so many clots on my lungs...I have had a really painful leg since before the PE, and it has gradually got worse...even after being on the warfarin, and over the last 10 days-2 weeks it had been swelling, and getting very painful! I had a weeks course of diclofenac in suppositry form and that really did help with the pain, I stopped these and the swelling the doctor put me on water tablets, these really did very little apart from make me feel dehydrated...the swelling is subsiding a little on its own and the pain is not too bad at all as long as I don`t walk for too long or too far on it, the thing getting me down more than anything is the fatigue! I cant even walk my dogs, when I do any reasonable amount of excersize, I feel awful! I sweat like heart feels like its going to explode! I struggle to catch my really is SO frustrating! I am due to go back to work in 2 weeks, and for the life of me I really cannot see how I will be ready, as much as I would love to get back to normality, I just know I will not be ready for work in 2 weeks!...I thank god I am alive, and am a very lucky man...but its hard to not feel down at the moment, but reading about others going through the same problems really helps me feel less "alone" my partner tries to understand, but she really doesn`t grasp just how much this has affected my its great to read about people who know exactly what I am going through...I hope everyone makes as fast and full a recoveries as possible!

Jay 5 years ago

I just wanted to thank you for your article. I am 38 years old and was just released from the hospital with acute DVT and PE. I spent 5 days at the hospital and now am home with injections and warfin. I am on an emotional rollercoaster it seems like. One minute I'm okay and the next I am in tears. It is very frustrating not to be able to do simple things like taking a shower without feeling like you have run a marathon. Your article give so much information. Thanks again

Erica 5 years ago

Ian and Jay - Hang in there! You sound just like my husband... Mike is 37, he has always been athletic and very much in shape. After suffering a massive DVT, numerous PEs, a PE infarction and a collapsed lung, everything is a tremendous task! He has often commented on all it takes just to shower. If someone calls on the phone, he gets one or two sentences out before he is completely winded. We went for a walk around the block tonight and he was exhausted! What helps me/us is to read the stories from others on this site; others who are months and years ahead in recovery. I pray that Mike will continue to heal and make it to that other side, to where he can say, "Yeah, I remember going through that..." rather than, "That's exactly what is happening to me!!!" In fact, that is my prayer for everyone on this site.

Here's a question to all of the DVT sufferers out there, both past and present: Can someone please explain to me how you go on with life, not worrying about the massive clot still present? Mike is a month into his recovery, his INR is FINALLY theraputic, and the doctors seem optimistic. However I am still a nervous wreck! The DVT caused all the PEs, the infarction and the collapsed lung in the first place! How do you go on living with that clot still there?!? How are you not constantly worrying that a piece with dislodge again? I'm sorry if this comes across as negative... I certainly don't mean to be... It's just that the fear associated with all of this is unreal. Jay was right when he said this is an emotional roller coaster; for those who suffer, as well as those who love them!!!

Ian 5 years ago

Thanks Erica, sounds like your husband has really gone through it! and hope he feels better very soon!...regarding the clots, from all the information I have gathered and been told by my seems the clots dissolve naturally over time, even the main ones that cause the DVT, and the warfarin should stop any dislodging of any clots still present, I am very paranoid already about it all happening again when I am off the warfarin (if I come off it of course)...

Steve 5 years ago

In April 2011 I was admitted (by ambulance) to my local hospital. I was diagnosed with multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli and was kept in for 11 days. It is now August 2011 and I am starting to feel much better, although I have a number of tests still to go. I have undertaken a serious amount of research to understand my condition and your article was particularly informative, in particular how you felt some months afterwards, i.e. good days/bad days, chest pain, fatigue and not to be underestimated, anxiety. It was very reassuring to see that my suspected hypochondria post event was not imagined – that has been very reassuring. Many thanks for a superb article.

Jay 5 years ago

Erica, I feel for you and your husband. I understand about your fear of how do you not worry. I battle that fear every day and I am only at 1 week and 1 day. I spoke to the doctor yesterday and he said that most clots will dissolve but some remain and the blood is rerouted around them. When he said that all my fears came rushing to the surface again. He is referring me to a hemotologist now; I am hoping this doctor can put some of my fears to rest.

I sprained my ankle two weeks before I was diagnosed. It just seemed the ankle was not getting any better. Swelling started in my ankle and went up my leg. The pain was excruciating. I thought I had been misdiagnosed and had broken my foot. Five minutes at a foot specialist had me on my way to the hospital for an ultrasound of my leg. From there multiple DVTs were found and that night the PE was discovered in my lung.

I thank everyone for their support and information. This site has been a huge help

Thankful2 be here2 5 years ago

Has anyone experienced heart flutters. I have had them almost daily since one week prior to my PE diagnosis. I am going to get a referral tomorrow from my GP to see a Cardiologist. They do not hurt but feels like flutters or a skipped heart beat. It has been one month since being in the hospital. I get tired so easily from my normal daily tasks and am wondering when my energy will return. My INR's have been within range so now I am getting checked once a week.

Also any feedback would be great!

Ian 5 years ago

well....I am off to the docs tomorrow, my leg is at record swelling today! my ankle looks deformed!...there is no pain..but I need to find out what is causing this severe swelling! I am disappointed with my doctor really, as I feel he should have sent me for a scan of my leg last week when he gave me the water tablets, regarding the heart flutters...I had them on and off after the PE...and when the PE happened, it felt like my heart was going to explode! I really did think I was as good as dead, I am not getting them now really, and thats a month on, my main problems are the swollen leg/ankle, and the fatigue...

Dom 5 years ago


I would ask your doctor about the water tablets because I understand that diuretics can increase the chance of clotting. I may be wrong, but it's worth checking.

The funny thing about being tired is how inconsistent it is. Sometimes I can do 30 minutes of workout but later on talking becomes exhausting. It is worrying when talking tires you out. But it's good days and bad days with the bad days getting fewer and fewer as time goes on. I'm at six months now. I am doing lots of exercise. I'm not 100% but I'm getting there. My ankle is still swollen and the cardiologist blames it on the broken ankle and the orthopedic guy blames it on the DVT. I just move it and exercise it as much as I can.

You know it is perfectly OK to be paranoid about your health. Most of us overlooked the signs of our PEs and so we have learned a lesson that we need to listen to our bodies. We have to constantly fight the doctors who don't appreciate this and get irritated by our questions and need to understand.

lucky2bhere 5 years ago

I received wonderful news yesterday!! My most recent lung CT came back clean. However I seem to be getting short winded more this past week than I did any other time since released from hospital. I also have pain across the back of my lungs that never completely goes away. Has anyone else had this happen after the clots have dissolved? I am beginning to think that I will never be well and pain free again. I have told my PCP however she does not seemed overly concerned.

Erica 5 years ago

lucky2bhere - Does it hurt when you lay down? Are you coughing or running a lowgrade fever? Mike was feeling that way prior to the infarction. I'd talk to your doctor about it.

Our list unfortunately continues to grow! Mike had the DVT, the PEs, the infarction, the partially collapsed lung, and now? He now has something called a pleural effusion. They told us he had fluid around the lung when we were back in the hospital the end of last month. Problem is, rather than the fluid decreasing in volume, it seems to be increasing! Other problem is it may be blood. More testing... More waiting... Possibly surgery to drain the fluid... Will this ever resolve? Any of it? When will my husband get better?

lucky2bhere 5 years ago

Erica - It does hurt also when I am laying down but seems to hurt worse while sitting. I do not have a fever. What I find strange is my CT scan of my lungs on Tuesday came back clear. I do think if I had fluid it would have shown. I have made my doctor aware and she did not seem concerned. So I wonder if this is part of the recovery process or is there something actually going on?

Erica 5 years ago

lucky2bhere - Mike has both fluid (pleural effusion)and an infarction. The infarction was diagnosed via chest xray. The CT scan showed the fluid and the collapsed lung. He's also having a special ultrasound on Monday. If you're not running a fever, that's a good sign. Our doc had us checking, as low grade fever was an indication of the infarction and collapse. If you're happy with your doctor and your doctor is not concerned, I'd say go with that. If you're not so sure, there are plenty of doctors out there. Here's hoping it's all a part of the recovery process. Good luck!

Ryan 5 years ago

My wife who is 27 was released from the hospital 2 days ago with multiple PEs. She spent 8 days in the hospital and they finally got her INR to a therapeutic level. The biggest battle we are facing right now is anxiety. Are there any of you that live in Las Vegas? I would love it if we can share stories and I'm sure talking to someone in her shoes would help tremedously as I cannot fully understand what she is goin through. We see the hematologist for the first time since leaving the hospital and I'm hoping we get some answers we are looking for. It looks like it's a long bumpy road to recovery. I really appreciate this website and I hope you guys continue to post your struggles and successes as it seems to be what a lot of you go through. I will show my wife this site later today when I get home and I hope in reading your stories she will find some comfort. The hospital stay was tough but being home has been even harder for her...we have 2 little kids and all she can think about is not being around for them as they grow up. Thanks again for this wonderful website.

Kent 5 years ago

Ryan and all

I revisted this site for no other reason than validation and assurances.

It has been 27 months since diagnosis. The stories/the issues faced are similar to my experiences.

As with everything in life it is all about attitude.

Before PE I was an accomplished marathoner/triathlete/endurance adventure racer. [My PEs were the result of a tib/fib fracture that occurred because of a skiing injury, an injury that in itself had major complications]

As noted in a prior posting I have and will continue to ignore/deny negative comments, determined to return back to my former self.

While the road has been difficult, I am doing it via belief in self and higher power. You will be amazed at what the body can do as I beleive the brain is your biggest muscle.

Last night I ran about 12 miles around a 7:50 pace and I am planning to work out again tonight with a group of former Navy SEALs.

As I am sitting here today, I am feeling pain in my back and nominal chest pain, a condition that may be chronic, the effect of scarring. My doctors have said if pain increases via excercising call 911 immediately.

To date this pain/discomfort has dissipated via excercising.

My shortness of breadth which at times still occurs at rest also disappears via exercising albeit the first 5-7 minutes of any run/workout is difficult as I am battling to get the proverbial "second wind."

Yes there are times I am concerned, for example now as I wonder in a few minutes of quietness following an incredibly hectic day, but I ask is this not expected given the events of the last 27 months.

We have all survived a life threatening injury. Look at our recovery however as overcoming a challenge, an accomplishment that few have had the opportunity to achieve.

Some may view this as dysfunctional thinking but it works for me.

The events surrounding my PEs have made me more thankful for everyday, recognizing so many things I previously ignored because of life's busyiness.

Keep the faith! This to shall pass with yet another great battle to face and overcome. Life is not a spectator sport. It is meant to be lived to the fullest, defined as experiencing and learning from both its highs and lows.


Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

I am in Ohio, but feel free to email anyways. Best wishes!

Andrew 5 years ago

Thanks for your website.

FWIW in 2006-7 I started seeing my doctor with shortness of breath; I went from run 10km to not able to climb a flight of stairs in a couple of days and slowly back. I was put on steroids for asthma. One morning I blacked out at breakfast with the younger kids and my wife took me in to ER. I live in the UK and the NHS ER is superb; within a hour I had had Xray, blood tests, blood oxygen and a CT scan which showed clots on both main pulmonary arteries as well as in the lungs. I arrested on the trolley returning from the CT scanner and got resuscitated, clot busted, ultrasounded showing clots still breaking up on my knees and had a IVC filter fitted. The specialiest said outlook was "uncertain" since the "event" I had was "not survivable" so no data was available. Anyway I am kind of ok now but unsure if there is enough permanent damage to cause a problem. I am on 11mg of Coumadin (Warfarin) daily for life.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

By cause a problem, what do you mean? Are you thinking clotting, lung problems, heart, or something else? From what I know, you made it through the worst. Brain and heart damage from lack of oxygen are the biggest problems. I am glad you arrested at the er and they were skilled enough to get clot busters in you that quickly. The reason most don't survive that is because the clot busters are given too late or not at all.

Were you in the hospital recently or in '07? Let us know and I am sure we can all give you some insight.

DiNMontana profile image

DiNMontana 5 years ago

Hey Erica!! I had very similar symptoms to your husband and it does get better.

I had severe pain and couldn't breathe when I laid down, it wasn't much better when I sat up. (I actually don't know how I got through those first few days without going to the ER). I coughed up blood but thought I pulled a muscle or something and thought I could "walk it off"... I was sooo short of breath as well. But then the next week went to my primary care physician. I was dx'd with PEs and infarcts/pleural effusion. I guess when the lungs are inflamed from the infarcts and they're rubbing on the ribs, etc... it causes intense pain... So when you have the infarcts which cause the parts of the lung to die and collapse and then fluid to build, well... its just a big mess. So you can analyze it but nonetheless, PE's are just dangerous, whatever the outcome, or the course of how the PE occurred. My lesson was, don't wait to see your primary care physician. Its an ER visit and don't suffer in silence. My fiance is a ER physician. I didn't say anything to him. But then it hurt so bad, I couldn't make any noise either.

I had blood and fluid in my lungs... over the next few months I had a couple bouts of low grade fever and more fluid in my right lung along with more pressure and chest pain (I though it was another PE) but it was pneumonia... I think all in all over 4 months I was treated for pneumonia 3 times. So don't expect a miraculous recovery.

Keep processing on this web site. It was a god send to me. I was full of anxiety. But I'm 9 months out now. I can still feel my lungs at times. It seems more related to elevation and/or wild fires. Its bow hunting season in Montana and if I'm hiking through the mountains I can feel it... OR if someone scares me with a spider (that could just be good old panic). It seems like I often have a "stitch" in the lower right side of my lung but its acceptable. Lungs are resilient. That's the good news. Keep hanging in there, it'll get better. The anxiety will decrease and he'll start feeling better.

Deanna 5 years ago

I was admitted to the hosp 1 month ago for PEs. As I sit here typing I again have tightness in my throat and chest. It is the night hours that scare me. Will I wake up the next morning? Will I ever feel like myself again? My 1st ER visit was an ultrasound on my leg. They found nothing, told me it was muscle strain and sent me back to my primary. Primary said it might be rheumatic, took blood and said it was OK to go on vacation. Took a 7 hour tip to the beach and was sick right from the get go. Had nausea, low grade fever, weakness, a cough and back pain. No chest pain and no shortness of breath. After laying in bed for 2 days and almost passing out, had hubby drive me to the ER. D-diner came back bad but chest xray was fine. They did CT and found two emboli...large one in right lung and avg size in left. After a 5 day stay I was stable enough to be released and go home. Very nerve wracking drive back home. Next day another ER visit because my chest now hurt. No new clots, just more pain. This condition is very scary...while it seems a lot of us have similarities, we are all different. I have two small kids that I want to be there for, but at night when I get more pain or tightness, I wonder whether I will be here. Thank you for this log because I probably be even more scared. My last INR came back too low, so they are upping meds. I must admit I miss my birth control, but don't want to risk it because they have no idea why I clotted. All tests they did before putting me on coumarin were negative. See pulmonologist on Monday and a hematologist in Oct. Drs have said they are not sure of next steps besides the thinners as my heart - EKG was always normal - and my breathing was never compromised. Compared to others I read here I was lucky in that respect. I would get short of breath or breathe hard when I would run upstairs but otherwise fine. Has anyone else had this? My lungs were always clear to listen to until they started the coumarin, then it would be a crunchy sound which I could feel when I breathed. I still get a strange sensation every now and then that is kind of like a wet rag in my lung that I'm trying to breathe thru. Again thank for these stories. They definitely reassure me and help me deal with the ups and downs.

Erica & Mike 5 years ago

Thank you DiNMontana! Your post has helped us tremendously. This past week was a tough one... Partly because it was so darn humid, but also because we're going on three months now, and Mike just wants to get better. He has a "new" pain now. It's still in the same location, chest, back and side, but it's more of a pinching. It never subsides... just seems to intensify in waves. The doc sent him for more testing. The chest xray and bloodwork both indicate more fluid and the lung is swollen. The one doc wanted to send him for another CT Scan, but he just had one three weeks ago, and this would be his 4th in the past couple of months. The pulmonologist told us to stay away from additional scans during our last visit. Mike is due for additional bloodwork tomorrow. He has appointments with the pulmonologist and the hematologist again in another week or so. Needless to say, we are both concerned that the fluid has not resolved, and we're also concerned that he is still in constant pain going on month three. However, after reading all of the posts, I'm beginning to wonder if it's just all par for the PE course, and we need to give it more time.

Becca Hutcheson profile image

Becca Hutcheson 5 years ago

Thank you so much for this. I can't tell you how validating it is. I'm looking forward to reading every single comment.

I am coming up on 10 months now since my moderate PE. I was having horrid stabbing pain in my left side and I just kept telling myself I'd pulled a muscle while exercising and it'd go away - until I couldn't walk anymore bcs of the pain. I called my MD who had me come in for an x-ray of my ribs - but no one - including my 3 friends who are docs - thought about a PE as an option. I am lucky that the ER doc decided to look at it bcs as she and everyone else said, I didn't really have the traditional risks for one.

I waited about 4 days to go to the ER - and by then the inflammation was pretty bad, so my recovery took much longer. I was in the hospital overnight and released me on injections until my INR got up on coumadin. I took coumadin for about 6 months and stopped about 4 mos ago. It's weird - when I started on coumadin I was freaked constantly about my greens and my blood getting too thin, etc. but then I got used to it - and I guess it gave me some sense of security - to think that I most likely wouldn't have another while on it. I've had the MOST anxiety of this whole process since I've stopped coumadin. I don't trust my body again, I guess - and it feels like I'm sort of out in the world full of potential danges w/o any sort of safety net. What if it happens again and it's bigger next time? It is on my mind almost constantly.

Initially my main problem was the pain. They gave me Toradol in the ER and it was the best thing I took for it - totally wiped out the pain - I was so relieved. But given it's a NSAID I couldn't take it while on coumadin and the other pain pill options didn't really help much. I went to the ER again a week later due to pain and they did another scan to see if I'd had another clot, but it was just increased pleurisy as my lung tried to heal. I was out of work for about a month with pain from the pleurisy - the only position I could be in w/o pain was standing or sitting very upright - and while for the most part it resolved after a month, it took 3 months until I could lie down again to sleep w/o having pain. What bums me out, maybe bcs I just kept holding out hope while in the midst of the initial pain that at some point it'd be completely gone - I still have pain occasionally. Nothing like before and there are stretches w/o any sensation or pain at all. But I get freaked out occasionally (like now) because I get similar sensations - like little jabs ("zingers") or my chest feels like someone is digging a heel into it. But that only seems to happen after I do something that irritates my chest - like it happened after I moved boxes and again after exercising. And somehow along the way I developed Asthma - which I have to think is related to the PE but who knows. But each time I get those sensations I really get scared that I've had another PE. And it's just really frustrating to feel like I'm back to normal and then when I try to do things I used to do - like exercise hard - it brings back the chest pain and I can't sleep lying down again, etc. I was crying the other night because I fear I'll never stop having this happen out of the blue. It's just hard to believe (although super validating to read others' experiences here) that it'd still be healing after 10 months.

I guess aside from the occasional pain and trying to figure out what of that is this newly developed asthma and what is from exercise and what is something I shoudl be concerned about - what I struggle with most is I/my doc's don't know for sure why I had a PE so I am pretty constantly freaked out that it might happen again. And is there something else wrong that they didn't find in the work-up? Like cancer? I guess my health and life itself feels really fragile now - and I was always so healthy until this happened.

It really helps to hear that others have had symptoms 10 months out or even longer. It helps to know that others developed ashtma or asthma-like symptoms. It helps to know that others really struggle with anxiety similar to mine. I am so glad to have found this group.


Tj 5 years ago

My PE was on January 10th 2011. I feel pretty normal and have regained strength and the confidence to bike, hike, kayak etc. My doctor will not release me from warafin even though there was no known reason for the clot. I think I would get paranoid if I stopped taking it. The lung pain that originally brought this to light still pops back. I have to just ignore it. Tylonal and tramadol seem to work. The scariest thing is that they found very small noduals in my lungs that they now are following. I guess though, that if they become something it was a good thing to find them now.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

The lack of cause for the clot is a good reason to stay on coumadin. If you had a trigger you could just avoid that activity. Being off of anticoagulation is nerve wracking. I was having bad side effects though so it is worth it for me.

Good luck with the nodules. It is good they were noted early. Any guesses why they are there?

Lucky2 be here2 5 years ago

It has been eight weeks now since my PE I am finally feeling better. I was getting really bad headaches but started having caffeine again and I think it is helping. They still do not know what caused the PE yet but when I am off of the Warafin they will run more tests. I will be on it until the end of January. I still get tired easily and have to pace myself with daily activites which is hard when you have three very active kids but I am thankful to be able to do normal tasks again. I am scared to go off the Warafin(coumadin) and hope I do not get another PE. I have never been so scared as I was and I still worry about my health alot. I am so glad to have found this site and wish everyone a good recovery. I am hoping to get some more answers in a few months. I am praying for all of you.

Kevin Whitlam 5 years ago

On September 22, 2011, i had suffered extreme pain on the left side of my body from my neck to my pelvis. It was a sudden pain that started out feeling like arthritis, and quickly moved through my body with a higher pain level in a very short time of three hours. The pain was overwhelming, could not lay down, stand, or sit, unless I was in a hunchback posistion. I had to breathe in a way the was like hyperventelating. Current doctors were prepping that I was possibly passing a kidney stone, or suffereing from a severe Pnemonia illness, in no way were they searching or even looking for a blood clot in any way, as my symptoms to their knowledge was not displaying that I was having a blood clot. It was not until the next day through the second round of CT scans and X-rays that they discovered the blood clots in my left lung, and diagnosed me with a Bilateral Pulmonary Embolism. A stay in the hospital of four days. I would have been dead in 48 hours, if I did not go to the doctors, as stubborn as I am. Through all of this afterward, I have to try and maintain an INR blood level between 2.0 - 3.0 through Warfarin I still have minor pain when sneezing, coughing, burping, hicups in my lung region, I am hoping this will heal over time. Bleeding gums are also encountered, but for a short time. I do not want to give up, too early in life to let something beat me. Oh and I am 35 years old.

MIke & Erica 5 years ago

Well, we are about 3 months into recovery of the DVT, PEs, pulmonary infarction, pulmonary effusion, and collapsed lung. Mike's recent diagnosis is Post Phlebitic Syndrome. Anyone have any experience with it?

Rosanne 5 years ago

After being on warferin for 19 months my INR has been off. Med. has been adjusted but it's still low. I have not been eating greens. The only thing I know for sure is that I have started getting my period again after not having it for over a year. Does anyone know if Warferin can suddenly stop working?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

My Warfarin got wacky after a number of months. I still have no clue why. Officially I can think of no reason it would "stop working" but bodies are odd things. Has anything stress, diet, bowel movements changed other than INR? Also, has your warfarin dose been increased to see what happens?

Another good question would be how is your INR being tracked? If you have some forms of thrombophilia instant read meters are not reliable and only blood draws work. Not sure if they get blood draws - I don't think that they do, but I am just a patient and laymen so I am not sure.

Rosanne 5 years ago

My warferin has been increased again. I will have my blood drawn in about a month to see what my INR is. I do have a vena cava filter so I feel I have some safety. I really don't think my doctors are knowledgable about PEs.

Joann69 5 years ago

Rosanne if your warferin has been increased again is because your INR results are below the level. Mine for example has to be between 2.0 and 3.0 every week when i go to the anticoagulation clinic my INR somethimes its below the level or above, so thats when they make a choice of the dose i need to take. I think they should of see you every 2 weeks and not a moth later.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

How often blood work is done will depend on how long you have been on warfarin, if you are in range, how close to in range you are, how stable your inr is, and if you have any environmental lifestyle changes that have happened. My blood was tested daily until I was therapeutic, 2 times a week after that, then weekly, then bi weekly unless something changed.

TheOldDad 5 years ago

My fun started when I woke up 9/26 with a backache. Figured I must have slept on it funny, sat in hot tub for an hour in evening. Woke up in the night with more pain but still thought I somehow pulled a muscle or perhaps cracked a rib. Got worse, called doc, told me to get a chest x-ray that was diagnosed as bad pneumonia. Mentioned to my wife "Well at least it's not a blood clot." Sat in hot tub again for another hour, didn't help, tried to sleep sitting up. Next day I saw doctor, no fever, no gurgling chest, no hacking, odd but doc said

could be early or viral. By evening all I could do is sit in glider chair and take tiny breaths. Our oldest took care of her siblings and my wife took me to ER where I managed tell doctor about Leiden Factor V (took 8mg of morphine to get the words out). CT scan showed extensive bilateral PEs. Five days in hospital to get levels right.

Here is where the story changes from most of the comments here. I had an inkling that it could be a PE by Weds. I know I have LF5 and my father had a PE requiring hospitalization about my age 30 yrs ago. He's now 82 in good health, although he's had two DVT leg clots with edema, so when the ER doctor said the CT scan showed PEs, I knew that I'd be fine. Even if I had somehow gone downhill, I was already in the ER so I was not afraid. I

vaguely remembered the drill from my father's PE - take warfarin for the next 50 years or until I expire, no big deal. I went back to work the day after I got out. Last weekend I split seven large logs into firewood with an 8 lb maul.

I got copies of the CT scans which are rather fascinating from an engineering perspective. I encourage you all to do the same. The reports are written in medical-ese but the actual movies are interesting - a slice by slice look of your insides.

Looking back over the years, I think that I've had PEs on several occasions - shortness of breath, elephant sitting on chest, chest pain. These passed in a few hours and I let it go. You cannot run off to the doctor for every little pain - you'll spend your life in the waiting room and I think that there are sicker people in the world who really need the doctor's time.

I feel badly for the young ladies (I'm 51 y/o) on this board who worry about being mothers someday. Don't worry, you can still make lovely babies, it will just take more caution. My niece has LF5 plus MHFTR(something like that) and has two wonderful little girls. She did have several miscarriages so you need to be prepared for that heartache and gave herself Lovenox shots every day during her second successful pregnancy. Find yourself a patient, understanding spouse and it will work out.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 5 years ago from USA Author

Thank you for your wonderful reply! I am sure it will give hope to some readers. You sound like you are healing quickly. I am very happy for you.

I think I had many clots leading up to the big one. Like you I had weird times when I couldn't get air in. I know better now.

Will you be on Coumadin for life? I chose not to be but I will be on lovenox for pregnancies as you mentioned.

Best wishes to you in your recovery!

DebLHC 4 years ago

Thank you so much for your posting. I had my PE 6 weeks ago and the recovery has been weird to say the least. I have never been one for doctors or hospitals and probably would have blown this off too if it wasn't for the fact that my boyfriend and I lost our roommate 5 weeks before my hospital stay to a PE.

During my hospital stay and the couple days immediately following I felt at ease with what had happened and was comfortable with being medicated and moving on with my life. Over the past couple weeks though chest pains, shortness of breath, shoulder, neck and head pains have thrown me into anxiety. I know I'm medicated (coumadin) and the possibility of more pe's is very small but when I wake up not being able to breath or doing small chores around the house fatigues me, I do get scared. I see my primary in two days and if it wasn't for these comments and knowing that my pain and ill feeling is not just in my head, I would have probably spent another night in the ER. Nice to know that I'm not alone in how I feel. thanks again for all the personal sharing and best wishes and healthy recovery for everyone. :)

LA Hyde 4 years ago

I've had three DVTs and 2 pulmonary embolisms. Being asthmatic, I tend to attribute my shortness of breath to that. Not anymore. 8 months ago I ended up in the hospital with clots throughout my leg and massive clots in both lungs. I spent 5 days in the hospital, had an inferior vena cava filter put in to avoid any future clots from going to my lungs from my legs, and am now on warfarin for life. I'm the luckiest woman alive.

My hematologist suspected that I had an inherited protein C deficiency, but unfortunately a blood clot and/or blood thinners will affect the results. Having my daughter tested confirmed my diagnosis. It was extremely difficult to listen to the pediatric hematologist telling my 9 year old that she can never go on birth control pills, can never smoke, and when she gets pregnant she'll have to inject herself daily with a blood thinner like her Mom did when she was pregnant with her. She's nine! These are things that she shouldn't have to worry about. But at least she knows. I won't let her blow off those achy charley horse feelings in her legs, or any shortness of breath. I was lucky... she'll be informed.

If you've had a DVT or PE, insist that you get tested for a blood disorder. Don't wait until it's too late.

TheOldDad 4 years ago

I don't know if I'll be on Coumadin for life. I get another blood test on Monday to see if 8mg/day keeps me around 2.0. I would rather not take it forever, perhaps replacing it with a baby aspirin or two a day. Aspirin is less expensive and perhaps has fewer potential side-effects although bulk Coumadin is rather cheap anyway. There are new anti-coagulants coming out that work on a different pathway and do not require blood testing.

I do notice that I cough quite a bit, perhaps this is a side-effect of the infarcation (I just love that word, makes me think of ardvark!) but it's nothing major. One doctor said that my lost lung capacity should grow back in 5-10 years assuming that I don't get any more big PE events.

Good luck to us all! The fact that we are reading this means that luck is on our side already.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Make sure that whatever blood thinner you use that it works on venous clots. Aspirin will not prevent pulmonary embolism as it works on the wrong clotting mechanism. If you have questions, read my hub on types of blood thinners.

Dean Bloomquist 4 years ago

Thanks to Lwelch. Your excellent description of what recovery might entail has been my main source of information and it has been very helpful.

So I'll add my story and hope that it will be helpful to someone.

I retired just before my 70th birthday and continued with my hiking/biking activities. In Jan, 2011, I felt a sharp pain in my right calf but dismissed it as a muscle strain. Big mistake. The pain would come and go, but never went away. Within a week or so, I began to feel out of breath, just walking around the house and I rationalized that my old heart that just couldn't do what it used to do. Then my right leg started to swell up. I had a checkup scheduled with my doctor, so I waited until April 14 to see my doctor. By then, my leg was hugely swollen and I could barely walk.

I thought I had it all figured out and went into the examination room and told him that I thought I was suffering heart failure. He examined me and said, "You have DVT/PE and you need to be in the hospital immediately.

They did a CT scan to verify the PE and told me that I had embolisms in both lungs. The next two days were the usual ECG/vital signs/blood work, etc with injected Heparin. In two days I was able to leave the hospital and self-injected Heparin until my Warfarin INR level stabilized.

So, six months later, I have improved immensely and was back to easy biking/hiking until a couple of weeks ago when I woke at night with headaches, hip pain, pain in my finger joints and an odd pain in my forearms that showed up only when my arm was in torsion.

Since then, my morning resting pulse rate has gone up from 58 to 80 and I get increasingly out of breath, just walking on the level.

So I was beginning to worry that my recovery was all over and I was on backslide to my earlier condition. Then I read the comment by Llwelch, "There are a lot of ups and downs. Symptoms of the embolism will come and go for a long time after the embolism is found and treatment is initiated. It is not uncommon for someone to go three months without any problems and then find themselves with pain or shortness of breath again."

Thank you for that, Lwelch. I thought I was on a direct road to full recovery and apparently that's not the case. I'll get in to see my doctor to make sure nothing else has happened, but I'll also allow at least a year for recovery before I begin to reconcile my self to a diminished self.

Thanks again, to all who contribute. It's a great help to know what others are experiencing.

Tom 4 years ago

Thank you all for answering the questions my doctors have blown off, even calling me "obsessive." My biggest concern quite naturally, is whether returning pain means a new clot in my lungs or the fission and spread of the original clots; and then my left-side chest pain may also may be due to concurrent damage to my heart bec. it has had to work harder

SJE 4 years ago

I am now 2 months post initial diagnosis: clots covering more than 50% of both lungs and two DVT in my left leg. I too thought I was superwoman - I didn't feel well, had problems walking, carrying, talking, was coughing - and still flew 4 times the prior week. The ER doc said I was lucky to still be around.

This site is wonderful - it confirms the validity of how I feel, my symptoms, weakness at times, fatigue. I am recovering at my sister's and can barely walk around the driveway (prior to this I worked out 2 hours daily). Luckily I am not up in the cold north - but I have the opposite issue - going into overheated buildings drains my strength. I am 100% better than I was two months ago, but I am not at more than 50% of normal.

My chest hurts at times, I cannot wear a bra because I feel it constricts my breath (has anyone else run into that issue?). And since I cannot take hormones, my hot flashes have returned...

I had wonderful doctors, have excellent care at the coumadin clinic. But I am still not allowed to workout, carry / push anything. I understand all the medical reasons why that is and try to walk as much as I can around the house. I try to not be depressed, or overwhelmed. It is hard. thank you so much for this site and to everyone who contributes. It is so helpful

Patty 4 years ago

I had arthroscopic knee surgery 1 1/2 weeks ago. 4 days later my Dr had me go to ER because I was having pains in both legs. When I did get there I was also having chest pain that I thought was from anxiety and almost didn't say anything about, but I did thank goodness. I had CAT scan which showed a PE in right lung. They did ultrasound of legs which showed no clots in upper legs and was inconclusive on lower legs. They kept me a day in hospital and sent me home on coumadin and lovenox shots. I was also told not to move around much at all. My INR was 2.3 today so was told I didn't need to do the shots anymore for now.

I still have chest pains and get short of breath if I move around much, although it is getting better slowly. My legs are still VERY sore though. Unfortunately I am not getting very much information or directions from my Dr. I actually had a minor "break-down" yesterday because I have been so anxious about what is happening, when I should call the Dr, if my legs still hurting so badly is normal and when I can start moving around some. My knee is not healing very well because the Dr said I cannot do any of the excercises to strengthen it.

Thanks for your articles, and reading everyone else's experiences and questions have helped!

lizemr 4 years ago

Thanks so much for being here. All these posts make me feel like I am not the island I thought I was. I have a question about fumes and such. Does being exposed to fumes of paints and varnishes increase chances of PE re-occurrence? There is massive construction around the building where I work and for the love of God no one can figure out why the odorous fumes of paints and varnishes and other stinky stuff dumps into my office. The smells are unbearable some days. I am going to go to the occupational health office tomorrow because now I am coughing. Not sure if it is a cold or irritation. I know it scares me. I am 8 months post PE and sort if fragile. Please advise if you can. Thanks so much.


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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I haven't heard that fumes increase clots. Those clots in your lungs came from somewhere else like your legs. I could see the fumes irritating healing lungs. New lung tissue is like new skin. You know how skin right under a blister is so sensitive? Put that skin in your lungs and that may be happening with the fumes. That part depends on if you had any problems from the pe - liquid in the lungs, infarct, lung collapse.

Another possibility is the fumes were a problem before but you were less aware. Once you have a pe you notice your lungs and breathing a lot more. It is your brains safety check for you. It helps you know if you have clots again but also can be really scary. A dry throat makes my vocal chords constrict . They likely did that before my pe and I never noticed. Now I really notice.

Going to talk to someone is a good idea though. You can't work if they are bugging you. You may want to ask a doctor what you asked here. I am not one.

Let us know what a doctor tells you. I am positive others here could use that information.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Do you have a primary care doc to talk with? If you do, call them and get a second opinion.

Did they do a chest ct scan? Were there clots?

You could also pursue second opinions from another orthopedist and or a hematologist.

It sounds like you need a better explanation of what is going on in both your legs and your veins. What recovery expectations were you given pre operation?

It sounds like you have a lot of questions. Email me using the hubpages contact info for me and I can help you organize your thoughts so that you can figure out how to get the answers that you need.

In the meantime, see if your insurance has a nurse line. A lot do and they are very very helpful. I used mine when I had my clots.

Once I get your email I should get back to you within 24 hours. I work and am in college, but I do answer the emails you guys send me as soon as possible.

Jackie 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this article. I have been trying to find out more information on PE since my Mother had one last week. Thank you for putting everything into perspective so I can understand what she is going through.

Jennifer 4 years ago

Thank you very much for this...I am recovering from a PE, found last week. I spent 4 days in the hospital and am now out, but I'm experiencing the extreme shortness of breath still, along with rapid heart beat. (The PE was a result of a cardiac ablation, which is rare, but the rapid heart beat after a heart procedure had me worried.) I plan on discussing it with my doctor when I next speak to him, but this information was very valuable!

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

That is great that you have a cardiologist to work with. I had a consult with one when I was in the hospital because the nurses were worried about my heart rate. Great idea to be proactive!

Eva 4 years ago

Echoing all the others who have thanked you for writing this; there is woefully little information out there on recovery. I suffered my first episode five years ago, and my second one last week. I ran across this while trying to re-familiarize myself with what to expect.

Like you, I was left with reactive airways. And like you, I had trouble getting that diagnosed, or even getting anyone to take seriously my complaint that my lungs were *different* post PE.

I will definitely be heading over to the PE support forum you mentioned ... thank you!

Shelley 4 years ago

I had a massive saddle pulmonary embolism diagnosed on Oct 18, 2011. I was in critical care for a few days. I had no idea I had a clot or was clotting. Everything happened very fast and what made me dial 911 and go to the ER was severe shortness of breath that had been getting worse over 3-4 weeks preceding my call to 911 on Oct 18/11.

I was given a CT scan and was told I had the clot had fully occluded almost the entire vessel in my right lung. The clot had also shot many little clots into my right upper lung. After 8 days in hospital, given heparin and getting my INR up to 2.5, I went home on just warfarin. I cannot breathe on my own, so I was put on the Home Oxygen Program and I have to use oxygen on exertion. On Oct 30 I was back in ER. I had had a bad cough since my first diagnosis and it never went away. It was a constant, painful cough and doctors told me that it was due to how large the PE was and it was irritating my lung. In ER on Oct 30 the ER doctor ordered an x-ray and said I had pnuemonia. Was given 8 day course of Avelox (antiboitics) at home. The day after the course of antibiotics was over I was sent for a chest x-ray again and there was something "not right" so my family GP consulted with my pulmonologist who had me go back to ER at hospital and I was admitted. Another CT scan was done. It was determined by my pulmonologist and hemotologist that the smaller clots had infarcted and the dead tissue caused a lung infection - so pnuemonia or not, the antibotics had worked. I was sent home after 6 days in hospital (have been home for 2 days), still on home oxygen on exertion and taking dalteparin shots (hepearin) administerd by myself and taking 9 mg of warfarin. I will stop the dalteparin shots when the target of 2.5 my hemotologist wants me at is achieved. I am 47 year old female, former smoker who was in "fairly" good shape. We don't know why this happened. I have shown postive for 3 out of 4 blood tests for ALPS ( antiphospholipid syndrome) and have the 4th and final blood test in January (there is a waiting period). As well, my platelet count is quite high and being monitored by my hematologist and if it does not come down to a normal range over the next 8 weeks or so, I will be started on chemotherapy(probably hydroyurea sp?). This has been emotionally devasting. I keep flashing back to ER and critical care and have traum and axiety. Have used a bit of Ativan but mostly my doctors have said the anxiety is normal - PEs are dangerous, scary and life theatinging. I execpt to overcome this with time. I am told by my doctors that what is essential to healing is patience and unconditial time for healing. I will give myself that. I cry a lot. I get scared that I might die or probably would have had I not reached ER when I did. I beleive in a higher power and go there often to ask for comfort and release from the pain (emotional and physical) of all of this. I expect to eventually get better. I won't beleive otherwise. Good news is that I had 2 heart ultrasounds and there appears to be NO heart damage - am very, very grateful for that. No new clots are forming. The infacts in the lung most likely won't happen again. The lung infection has cleared and there is no more coughing, so I can sleep. My thoughts are to all of us here to get better and to heal. Thank you so much for this site. It really helped me a lot. Take care...

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

That is great that you have no heart damage! Infarcts and pneumonia are fairly common. If you ever go off warfarin ask for your clotting tests to be redone. The warfarin and clotting from the pe mess with a lot of the blood chemistry. Any genetic panels that you have done will be accurate.

I don't know much about platelets other than they typically don't cause a pe.

If the doctor's answers don't satisfy you, get some other opinions. I am glad that you are with us to post!

TheOldDad 4 years ago

The more my Coumadin dose goes up, the lower my PTT. At 7.5mg/day, PTT was 1.9, now at 9mg/day, it is 1.6. Same diet, same routine. Someday I'll get it right :-)

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

It takes 3-4 days for diet and dose to take effect so can be hard to see correlation.

I would go to ptinr's site or the FDA site to look up vitamin k amounts. It can be easy to eat a little more without knowing it. French fries when in certain oils or chickpeas are examples.

pgeier 4 years ago

This site is so helpful, thank you for posting it! I was diagnosed Oct. 13th 2011 with a PE in each lung, a partially collapsed lung, fluid around my lungs and severe anemia. I was in the hospital for 8 days, receiving Lovenox shots and starting Coumadin along with receiving two units of blood. The anemia is from another problem I have, but also adds to the shortness of breath. I was sent home with no information on what to expect and no restrictions. That all sounds well and good but...I am still short of breath and I have such pain in my lungs/back sometimes I am not sure if something is amiss. The shortness of breath I think is normal but wow, the pain in my chest is almost unbearable at times. Any insight on how to ease the pain?

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I never had the pain so I am not much help. I think you may have some luck popping onto daily strength and asking there or maybe a guest will comment for you.

pgeier 4 years ago

Will check it out, Thank you :)

him 4 years ago

my dad had to got the er and such due to pe about half a year ago. And 2 nights ago he accidently forgot to take his wharferin pill for the night.The following day he had a pain in the kidney area on his back. The next day the pain changed to his chest with more severity. Then after that it changed to his leg/knee. He can't and couldn't straighten his leg knee without the sharp pain. He could walk fine yesterday but last night and this morning he had/has trouble walking even with crutches. My aunt and brother took him to urgent care finally after my brother and I told him that he needs to at least go see a doctor about it. Is this connected to pe and him forgetting to take that night's dose? Is it common and is there a solution?

Hopefully one 4 years ago

Hi I am almost at the six month mark after a massive pe and my pulse rate is still high but only when I am up doing things, when resting its like 72/74 as apprised to low 90's when up and about is this normal? When does it return to normal? Thanks in advance.

Mark from uk 4 years ago

Hi, a message to you all from your friends in the uk. It appears we suffer the same problems.

I got a knee infection from a bite early September and i was in the hospital for 5 nights due to the size of the swelling and to receive IVF antibiotics, they then let me out even though i couldt walk and with no aftercare apart from keep the leg up and no walking.

Well October the 23rd i had really bad pains in my back and couldnt lay down etc, i went to the docs who said i had pulled a muscle which i told them was rubbish but they insisted and prescribed valium.

The following day in total agony i went to a and e (UK TERM). I was in for 3 days temp of 39 and on morphene for the pain and going downhill and luckily doctor number 4 said treat him for blood clots, give him fragmin injections in the stomach and get a CTI scan done and this showed i had a DVT in the leg that had fired multiple blood clots into both lungs and the docs telling me i was lucky to be alive.

I was in for a week and given Warphram with a target of 3.5 currently today 3.9. A question i am am trying to get answered is long and short hall flying and can i or carnt i, no one can give me answers. Well good luck to you all from across the water Mark

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I have never heard of that happening from a missed dose. I am worried about the severity. I vote for a hasty er visit. If it is a clot they will let you know, if not, you still need to know what it is.

You can clot when inr drops under the therapeutic range. When you miss a dose that will lower inr about 3-4 days after the missing dose. This can of course also happen with vomiting or diarrhea.

I wish you all well as you seek for an answer. Let us know how it goes!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

It took months for mine to settle. Granted I have always had a very high resting pulse even without clots. 80-100 is typical. When I was in the hospital it spiked to 140 every time I tried to change or clean up in the bathroom. Nurses ordered me back to bed until a cardiologist reviewed my chart and wasn't concerned. After my pe, I was put on a holster monitor and again the high rate was the only thing that was found. My allergist even suggested beta blockers.

I have found that it goes up when I am tired or when my vocal chord dysfunction is affecting my breathing.

You could get a heart rate monitor from polar and track the triggers and rates so you can see cause and effect or even progress and healing. I did that so I would exercise in range and see improvement.

If you are concerned ask for a cardiologist referral who is familiar with pulmonary embolisms, warfarin, and/or tachycardia.

Also, Coumadin was a culprit as well. My rate dropped considerably after my year of anticoagulation. For that reason, I will likely be on lovenox next time I need anticoagulation therapy. That side effect has been noted in some recent studies. if the tachycardia is making you feel cruddy and sickly, you might want to try out name brand Coumadin or switch to injections and see if you see a change.

Of course, make sure your md knows what you just shared with us.

Best wishes!


Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

If you are therapeutic you should be fine, still ask your doctor though! Plan for an inr check 3-4 days before the flight to make sure it is high enough. If it isn't, you will want injections for the flight - lovenox is what I used here stateside when I was in a similar condition. Then do the following:

- inr in range

- ask about low molecular weight heparin shots for the flight

- ask about knee high graduated compression hose

- arrange for disability seating on the flight. Bulk head seating in an aisle seat allows the best space to straighten legs. I keep mine elevated and extended with my feet on the wall in front of me. Do that well before the flight after you get tickets.

- take Gatorade, pedialyte, or other electrolyte loaded hydration beverage and have 1 oz every hour throughout the flight. The electrolytes will greatly decrease urination and therefor dehydration. I use Gatorade sticks, buy. 32 oz bottle of water once I am through security and use that.

Keep feet and legs active on the flight. You can find exercises on many airline company web pages or you can find them on my airhealth hub.

-Don't use caffeine or other diuretics

- walk the aisle every 1-2 hours

-Don't sleep or only do so for short periods so you can exercise

- memorize clot symptoms for dvt and pe just in case

- arrange for inr testing at your destination if you will be there for a while

- ask about lovenox for return flight if you will not be checking your inr before flying back

- break trip into four hour or less segments with layovers whenever possible

See the following sites:

mondaymom 4 years ago

Its been about 4 weeks since I went to ER and was found to have PE and probable DVTs in both legs. They did some blood tests in hospital and found I am positive for Factor 5 Leiden so I will be on coumadin forever. I have been on coumadin 7.5 mg daily. My INR was 2.8 two weeks ago so the Dr. said I could go 2 wks before next test. I went in today and the level has dropped to 2.0. I haven't missed any doses, no change in diet so not sure what the drop from. Dr. said on Tues and Sat to up my dose to 10. and rest of days keep at 7.5 and come back in 2 weeks for test. I still get tired out really easily and short of breath. Dr. said I really shouldnt be feeling that way cuz it was just 1 clot in lung and was not a large one. Basically got the feeling from her that she thinks I am just making it up. She said that I am at therapeutic level so I wouldnt develop any more clots. I have been having a sharper type pain the last day or so on right side of chest and in the back/shoulder blade area which is where the clot was. This is a newer feeling of pain and it hurts more when taking deeper breath. I dont really want to let Dr. know cuz I feel like she will just be more dismissive of me. How do I know if it is something I should be concerned about? And if I am at "therapeutic level" does that really mean I wont get more clots? The Dr. sent me to physical therapy this week to 'build up my strength', but the therapist is actually working more on my knee that I had surgery on 4days before I went to ER with PE.

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Great question about therapeutic levels. You can clot but it is less likely. There is no impossible. If you are worried about a possible clot, check it out. I did two times.

Inr can fluctuate. Anything that effects vitamin k intake or usage can shift inr. Vitamin k is in everything from salad to frenchfries. You can get level info from the ptinr website if you search or the USA FDA databases. Keeping in constant day to day helps. What you eat will change your inr about 4 days after you eat it. Vitamin k is to warfarin like sugar is to insulin for a diabetic.

I had and still do have breathing changes. Doctors told me it was in my head. I finally got a diagnosis of vocal chord dysfunction. Likely triggered by the stress of the pe - I think I had the beginnings of it before the clots.

You can choose to stay on Coumadin or not. I have fvl and my hematologist thought it was reasonable risk for me to go off after a year. I am heterozygous, if you are homozygous it is a different story.

If you feel your doctor is not a good fit, look for a new one. I fired my first pulomologist. Told my general doctor I was never going back and I wanted a new referral. The second guy is and was amazing.

Oh another note... Therapeutic means that you have a good probability that you will not clot and that you also won't bleed. It is different for different conditions.

mondaymom 4 years ago

Thanks for responding. Lots of good info. The Dr. I'm seeing is a general practice dr. She told me that she will refer me to a hematologist in about 12 months. I guess I'm not sure who I should be seeing- hematologist, pulmonary, ? or is waiting to see a hematologist in 12 months realistic?

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

The hematologist may do a better job with the Coumadin. I just saw my general doctor for Coumadin though and it was fine. They knew a lot about anticoagulation so I stuck with them.

I saw the hematologist in the hospital, when I got out, and then in a year. He was just there for the questions and testing for clotting disorders. I talk to him now if I need surgery or when I had to choose birth control.

My pulmonologist was hired when I couldn't stop coughing and was short of breath. My general doctor had tried a lot but we had little success.

If you have questions about clotting or anticoagulation that will be the hematologist. Lung and breathing questions go to the pulmonologist.

If you want that referral sooner, ask for it. The hematologist can't do all of your blood work until you are off of Coumadin but they would be able to advise your generalist to the length of time that you need to be on the Coumadin. Also, if staying in range is a problem the hematologist may be able to help.

Steve 4 years ago

Thanks for the article. I found it very helpful. I was diagnosed with PE while stationed in Afghanistan. The altitude, the summer heat, the frequent flights caused a DVT in my thigh that broke off and went into both lungs. Thanks to the medical intervention provided by doctors on base, I made it home safe after spending three days in a field hospital. In retrospect, the pain that I felt in my leg never occurred to me that is was a DVT....thought it was a slight muscle pull. I had always had the understanding that a DVT caused a great deal of pain and swelling, but this was not the case for me. I encourage anyone with an unexpected and undetermined pain in one of the legs, to seek treatment for a possible DVT. It turns out that we have a family medical history called Anti-Thrombin III Deficiency. Although I am in good health and have never experienced clooting in the past, the altitude I was residing in triggered the DVT. I am still home and recovering and still trying to figure out what my personal limitations are.

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Glad that you are home safe! I don't know much about that thrombophilia. The wrong pile of circumstances can really create problems for some of us! I am guessing you are military. If you are, thank you for your service. If you have questions, let me know.

Nancy 4 years ago

Your posting pulled me from fear to process-there are injuries from PE and they need to heal. My PE was three months ago and I just heard this this week form my cardiologist. My course was similar to so many posted here and, like many, my treatment team didn't say much about recovery post discharge (twice)so I was frustrated by fatigue, SOB, tachycardia, fluctuating blood pressure, muscular pain, fluctuating INRs, etc. What I'd like to add (may be in here somewhere--I didn't read every post) is that it is critical to check interactions of coumadin with your medications. In my frustration, I started researching my medications. I learned that both my antidepressants and my blood pressure medicines can interact profoundly with coumadin. I weaned off of both and immediately began to feel much better (work with your doc on this). I also quickly weaned from caffeine, alcohol and sugar and am finally, after a long, rough hall, starting to feel better.

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I managed to stay on all of my pre clot medications without problems. None of mine conflicted with Coumadin. Well, one migraine med had to change but not too bad all considered. That is great that you did your research. Warfarin interacts with a number of things. Anything that changes vitamin k in our bodies changes the warfarin.

Shelley Johnson 4 years ago

My Husband had bilateral pulmonary embolism 14 days ago and spent 3 days at hosp and is now on warfarin. His INR level was 6.4 today. Is this dangerous? Also they did not find any blood clots in his legs or defective gene. More testing is scheduled in 2 weeks. What other possible causes for the bpe could there be????

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

That is a very high inr. It is likely not a reason to panic but his dose needs to be adjusted. The higher the inr the higher the risk of prolonged bleeding.

Very few people die from warfarin, but, caution is needed.

If you are worried, see if you have a Coumadin clinic or anticoagulation clinic nearby. Specialized training makes them experts.

Oh, on the what caused it. You can't test for all clotting diseases when you have just had a clot or when you are on anticoagulants as they mess with blood chemistry. More testing will be done later. Some people never find a cause. Being stationary, having surgery, flying and other activities also can increase the clot risk.

Read my other pages. I think they will help you a lot!

Best wishes!

Hopefull one 4 years ago

Thanks for the advice I was just wondering how you dealt with coming off warfarin? I am due to come off in early jan and am already anxious about it. My (massive) clot was caused by a dislocated knee so there was a good reason for the clot to occur in the first place but it's still a huge concern for me, having said all that this is the situation I was praying to be in six months ago. Thanks again for your advice-it really does help :)

Brie 4 years ago

I would really appreciate some advise. I am 22 Year old female and I have recently been diagnosed with saddle PE. I had had heel pain for 6 months after going for a bike ride; which now seems to have instantly disappeared. I actually have been ill since the 16 October and was having extreme chest pains, it felt like someone had broken my ribs. I was mis- diagnosed at the time with having rib inflammation (costochondritis) i walked around in pain and feeling unwell for 3 weeks. My mother forced my to go back to the doctors 3 weeks later when i told her i had a small trace of blood in my phlem. That night i was admitted to A&E and hospitalized with a large saddle embolism. They were amazed that I had managed to walk around with it for so long. I had had no real symtoms, no swelling or anything, just this heel pain that had been there for over 6months. I was released from hospital on 14 november on warfarin, and stable INR of 2.5 whilst only a month has passed I wondered if people experience bad chest pain at this stage and if they notice improvements and worsening of symtoms and if they still experience traces of blood in phlem? My respiratory doctor has sent me for ore blood tests to also confirm that I have not got cancer, so this is now an extreme worry. Generally I am fit and well and do not smoke :o(

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Well, I chose to be off of Coumadin and had a hematologist tell me I would be fine. I have to say it was hard. Daily wasn't so bad. Things like the first airplane trip were terrifying. I am still stressed when traveling.

To cope I would recommend having a hematologist check you out and run more blood work after you have been off for a few weeks. If you have low risk you will feel better about being off.

Many studies show that fatal clots post warfarin are rare. When or if we re-clot I think we go to the er immediately as we now know what may be wrong so this keeps us alive.

Learn how to prevent clots and follow the recommendations. You will likely never loose the fear completely. It is going on my second year off of Coumadin and every now and then I hear that little voice warning me. You will learn to trust yourself and your body though. Just make sure you know how to prevent and recognize the clots and that you are in the acceptable risk category for stopping Coumadin. Blood tests and history will help you choose.

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Hi Brie... I have been mulling over your comment and still am clueless as to what to tell you. I lucked out and never had the chest pain that you are having. I know it is very common and can be devastating. I recommend that you check out the support groups at They have a great one for pulmonary embolism. I hope that since you have posted you have found more answers. Best wishes!

Lucky2 be here2 4 years ago

Well it has been 6 months now and I am due to go off Warafin and then get tested to see if I have any blood disorders that may have caused my PE back in July. I am feeling much better but still tire easily sometimes. I am nervous to go off since the Warafin has been my safety net as I like to call it. In two weeks I get tested. Any prayers would be greatly appreciated :) I am hoping to not have to be a lifer (on meds for life). It is still a mystery as to how I got the PE. I am also scared to travel once I am off the Warafin. I am thankful to be feeling better and hopeful for the future. I will continue to follow this hub and find it very helpful in my road to recovery. Thanks for creating this for us all:)

Tj 4 years ago

An update. If anyone remembers I had an acute left saddle pulmonary emboli in January and survived with apparently no organ damage, however. They detected a couple very small nodules. one of them has grown to 12 ml witch allowed them to do a pet scan to see if cancer would light up (Talk about Stress). Well it lit up but was inconclusive so a lung biopsy was ordered. They punctured my lung witch is pretty hard to avoid. Good news is that it was negative for cancer. But, now I have to see a pulmonary doc. to determine what it is. It appears to be blood with iron deposits. There is a condition, something with an H that they are looking at. My hematologist wonders if the warafin is part of this. Basically they want to know why it is growing. I'm now concerned about all the cat scans, pet scan and x rays taken. They want another x ray when I see the lung doctor. It's been almost a year and i still get random pain in the lung. Of course sticking a needle in there didn't help.

On another note. Since they want me on blood thinners for ever, I have slowly returned to eating everything that is good for me including fish oil and other supplements. Going off it for 5 days to have the biopsy was also scary. They get you so damn paranoid. I have found that a very low dose of adivan is good to have around while waiting for test results to come back. I could share much more but this is enough for now.

4 years ago

Hi Everyone,

I am so happy to stumble upon this website. It is so difficult to find information on long term recovery for PE so this makes me feel better knowing I can get help from others and learn more. No one really knows much about it, since it varies so much between everyone. I am actually partaking in a study right now in Toronto that is trying to examine long term happiness and recovery after a PE. I am excited tos ee what comes of it. Though, results will vary so much from each participant im sure. So ive been doing breathing tests, walking and biking tests, cardio ultrasounds etc. I feel good knowing im in this study, as im being monitored. I am also worried about when I need to get off coumadin. not sure if that will be 6 months or a yr (they havent said yet) but im one of the 30 odd percent of people diagnosed with PE that they arent sure why I got it. so knowing that, makes me worried to stop taking medicine incase it comes again. I saw some things online that suggest that some autoimmune diseases can cause blood clots. I am currently getting help with that to see if there's one that i have that caused the PE. i also have a clot in my leg still and clots in both my lungs. im only 26 yrs old and everyone (even in the hospital) always seem so shocked to know what happened or why it happened. i never had a swollen leg but felt like i had a pulled muscle in my leg for a week on and off. Who would ever think that was a blood clot? I feel that there needs to be more education on the symptoms bc I don't know many people who know to go to the hospital when they have that. Additionally, i didn't rush to the hospital bc i thought it would have been a panic attack that i was experiencing (bc I never had one before and I am an extremely healthy person(I thought) so I figured it couldn't be anything too serious). Anyway, I could go on forever about this but I think it's important for each of us to spread the word so we can potentially help others. Thanks so much for starting this forum and website and helping us.

Shelley R, 4 years ago

An update for you all because this PE issue for all of us is so important and there is no place to go for support really. I live in Vancouver, Canada BTW.

I had a massive saddle PE on Oct 18. Then a lung hemorrages and bad infections, often I am subtheraputic on warfarin and end up in the outpatient of the hospital to get enoxoperin shots while getting warfarin up to 2.5 where hematologist wants it for now. I have left chest wall pain now and it is not my heart - my heart seems to be fine per doctors in ER. So this is being checked. I had CT scan early November but it showed very minimal change in the PE from Oct 18. Had another CT scan Jan 3 - showing some improvement but the report from radiologist in hospital was not final - I was told there are nodules showing. I see doctors end of this month: 1) Pulmonary doc - go over results of Jan 3 CT scan, see about coming off home oxygen (which I have been on since release from hospital in Oct and subsequent visits to my home by the Respitory Therapist (Dec 2011 last visit show) my 02 sat on walking goes down to 90% - up from in the mid 80s during Nov visit. Will see Resp Therapist at home again in a few weeks. 2) Hematologist/Oncologist - seeing her at the beginning of Feb - 3rd test will be done for antilupus anticoagulant. Showed positive for 2 tests in Oct. Had very bad infection then though too. Also being tested for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, plus I am having some issues with high platelets although the numbers have stabalized since November - the counts were in the millions and are now down to approx 700,000 which is still high but better than before. May have a myelodysplasic syndrome or myeloproliverative syndome - will be going over this in more detail on my first post-hopsital visit with hemo/onc.

I see me regular GP every 2 weeks for followup. INR is very unstable even though I eat consistiently. It seems even taking a tylenol can throw my INR off. I have had no adverse side effects from the warfarin and have no problem taking it. To me, it is my lifesaver and like a few people who have commented on here, I am very scared to eventually go off of it.

General feelings: Boys/men may wish to skip this part. Ever since I have been on warfarin I have had 3 menstrual cycles. The first 2 were okay - much less clotting that I had had in the previous years. The last period at the beginning of this month was awful. I woke up on the 2nd day of period and my bed was covered in blood. It was literally pouring out of me. If I stood up, the palm of my hand would fill with blood. Using a tampon and sanitary napkin would need to be changed within the hour. This went on for 2 days. I was told thim may happen. When I see the hematologist at beginning of Feb will discuss with her as she said to contact her. I did not panic as I also have had 2 episodes of bleeding heavily from my rectum and nose and went to ER and I ended up being fine, so with this last period, I took the wait and see approach (with my phone at hand ready to call 911 if it got worse LOL).

I get left chest wall pain and nobody seems to know where this is coming from.

Am very tired. Have emotional ups/downs from time to time as it can all be overwhelming.

I have a question for all of you - how long were you off work for you massive saddle pulmonary embolism. I am hoping to go back to work after I am off oxygen on a graduated return-to-work basis. I would like to know how others felt about going back to work and the timeframe in which they did. Thanks so much. Hope all of you are doing well and getting better with your PEs. They are the scariest things....Hugs to all.

kelleyward 4 years ago

Very informative and well written article. As a nurse I know a little about PE but after reading your hub I have learned much! I don't think the medical industry provides enough follow up on these serious conditions. Thanks for the information!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

How did you hear about my hub? Was it word of mouth? I am curious. Thanks for the complement. If you need any educational materials for coworkers, contact me and I will email some links.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I was not in as bad shape as you. I was off work 3 months and then went back on a part time basis that slowly ramped to standard full time over 2 months. For almost 2 years I went home and did nothing when I wasn't working. I sleep until 2 or 3 most days when I was off.

SJE 4 years ago

I am now 4 months post PE / DVTs. It has been a challenge. Since sept 11 (yes, great anniversary) I have been diagnosed with A-fib, GERD (reflux), sleep apnea, high blood pressure. And I have had many reactions to the meds (dizziness, tremors etc). I have been hospitalized five times. And I gained 25 pounds.

On the positive side, recent MRI shows the bilateral PE is gone. I am still working remotely and definitely not up to my previous level. I will be taking my first flight later this month. But my energy level and strength are still low and it still seems like a huge hurdle to climb. I joined a gym and am starting to work out. In general I have been very lucky with my physicians and treatment. I will be seeing a hematologist in the spring to see if I can get off Coumadin. I do believe the apnea and weight gain are impacting the recovery and those are my short term goals.

The moral of the story is you deal with issues daily and remember even set backs are steps toward ultimate recovery. I have learned so much from the postings on this site, not the least of which is that I am not nuts, rather encountering what many of this group has encountered. And for that I am very thankful.

geert 4 years ago

Great info in this hub, and thanks for keeping it going. I had a leg thrombus 3 y ago, which was treated with 3m warfarin. After that I had another one (undiagnosed) 1.5 y ago after a flight to Asia (self treated as I always carry around my Lovonox and my wife is a medical provider). 1.5 m ago I started running again after 8 m of rest for a torn meniscus, and continued having left calf pain for 2 weeks. No respons to treatment (I am a physical therapist who treats this daily), and difficulty with finishing my workouts (my normal routines I do 4 times/w)

made me go to the vascular lab. Result: 5 cm thrombus in the knee and 2 PEs.(luckily I already started Lovonox that morning. I resumed working 3 days later, but now limit myself to 1/2 days. Constant low grade pain in chest, and tightness/pain in calf (3/10). I am expected to be on warfarin for the rest of my life, so I decided to not let this change my daily routines. I work out 3 times a week now (basic weight training and cardio, keeping my HR around 120 for 45-60 min and go for a max discomfort of 5/10) . This is in preparation of my ski trip in 3 weeks, where I will leave the moguls to the healthy people, and suffice with skiing with my wife and 6 y old. I am not sure how I will do with the Vail altitude, but I will see. The last thing I will let this bump in my health do, is force me to change my life style if I do not need to. The way I look at it, there is a pretty good chance I won't die of a heart attack now that I am on coumadin :).

Best of luck to you all, and don't let this thing beat you!

Deni 4 years ago

Thank you all for your posts. I suffered my PE in late July 2011. I am 33 (32 at the time), I don't smoke, I work out, I don't drink... the PE was definitely a surprise for me. Since my diagnosis I have been placed on life long Coumadin therapy. I have some resistance to the medication, so I take 40mg everyday. I still experience chest pain and shortness of breath occasionally. I find that it is usually exacerbated with activity. I'm still a little sad about the whole "life long therapy" but if it's necessary, I'll do it. My kids are 4 and 2 and I definitely want to be around for them!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Feel free to question your doc on taking warfarin for life. Based on further blood work you may find it to be an acceptable risk to be off of it except for unique situations such as surgery. If you haven't found a hematologist that you like, get a referral and discuss the time on warfarin with them. You can then make an informed choice. Many docs panic when there is a clot. Caution is warranted and it may be the best choice for you. I bet you will be more at peace though with more bloodwork and a second opinion.

LJ 4 years ago

I had my bilatral PE in Feb 2012 after knee surgey gone wrong. A year later, my leg is finall stable to go running again. I just ran for the first time this week and noticed chest pains and shortness of breath.

Now I realize my cardio is terribe after a year long break with any real exercise, but the pain lasted off and on for the next hour. No pain in the left arm or jaw - so I'm not worried about a heart attack. But has anyone else had the PE like symptoms after exercising?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I bet that a lot of the problems are from deconditioning. It is pretty common from what people have mentioned. Also, some is likely from new lung tissue that isn't used to hard work.

4 years ago

Thank you for your article. We found it very informative. My mom had a PE a month ago. She is having a hard time getting her INR in a therapeutic range. Currently she is still taking lovenox shots with warfarin since leaving the hospital. Recently she stopped taking Dilantin. Can that effect INR? Should she consider Coumadin instead of generic?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I just checked and it looks like those two do interact with each other

How is she managing her diet? So many things have vitamin k in them that we don't think about. That is another consideration. My hub on warfarin has good links with info on that.

Some people report good changes with name brand. I never tried.

Medications of all types including lotions and the like often mess with inr. You might want to review that as well.

Also, some people have better management when working with an anticoagulation clinic vs a regular doctor. I stuck with my regular because he was good at management, but you may consider that route as well. Home inr monitoring is also an option for some. Medicare will cover it in some circumstances.... If mom is that age.

Feel free to use the contact me link if you want.

Your mom may also be warfarin resistant. Some people need huge doses to be therapeutic. My dose wasn't huge but was larger than most people. I too left the hospital on lovenox after 11 days on warfarin I was still too low.

MPorter 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this article. You have answered everything I was needing to ask. I suffered my PE just 2 days ago, at the age of 38. After specking to my family Phy, I was told to go to the ER. I felt silly going, kissed my husband and kids, and said I would be right back. Well, 2 days later, I am, thankfully! I am now taking the Lovenox shots with Warfarin. I am still feeling the heaviness in my chest and shortness of breath. And like others, every little twinge in my legs, I wonder. I didn't get much info on how my recovery would go or what to expect, until I read your article. THANK YOU! I now know what to expect. My only concern is that my 1st follow-up appointment is not for 1 week. I wonder if it should be sooner to check my blood levels? I will surely recommend your hub to anyone.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

If I were you I would want my inr done sooner than a week. Until I was therapeutic I was checked daily, then every 2 days, then twice a week, weekly, then every other week. If I was off we went closer together again.

Call you doc to ask about an inr read and maybe check out an anticoagulation clinic or hematologist and choose the person that seems to be the best combo of knowledge and people skills.

4 years ago

Thanks so much for this site. It is exactly what I was needing. I had a nagging pain in my left calf for 4-5 weeks and I thought I had pulled my Achilles tendon. I went on several trips during that time, but last week after I returned to Seattle from Boston my calf pain was realy bad. Then I noticed my lungs felt "tired" when I took a full breath. I went to my primay care doc and he ordered a blood test which was positive. I got a CT with showed bi-lateral PE. They didn't bother to do the ultrasound on my calf, and sent me immediately to the ER. I spent 2 days in the hospital and came home a couple days ago. I feel pretty normal now. While I was in the hospital, I accepted to be on a clinical trial called AMPLIFY for a new drug from Pfizer/Bristol Myers Squibb called apixaban. The study randomizes me to either placebo apixaban with real lovenox followed by coumadin, or placebo apixaban followed by lovenox and coumadin. My physician and I are blinded as to what I am receiving. They want to see if daily oral apixaban can substitute for lovenox & coumadin for post-PE followup. I get my INR monitored regularly and I go see a special trial nurse and physician instead of going to an anti-coag clinic. I like the idea of finding an alternative to lovenox/coumadin and the experimental drug has done well in other trials. Haven't read anything here about new drugs or trials. I'll let everyone know what I learn.

Jewel 4 years ago

I just got home today after a week in the hospital. I went to bed fine last Monday night and woke up unable to breath for the excrutiating pain from under my left breast, up across the tip of my shoulder and all the way down my back to my waist. My son took me to the ER and they first did an ECG. When that looked fine, we waited 5 hours before getting in to see a Dr. They did extensive tests but never did a doppler on my legs. What they found were a multitude of clots bilaterally. I had no symptoms other that some tiredness over the last few weeks. I had fallen down the stairs 4 weeks ago and thought I may have cracked my tailbone but no big deal. I also was on birth control pills, but no longer lol. I had a fairly easy recovery in the hospital but am still experiencing alot of shoulder pain and shortness of breath. My biggest issue is concern over going to sleep and if I will wake up in the morning. I'm just so scared about this whole thing. It's nice to be home but noone's checking on me here. Thank you for all the information, it is invaluable to those of us in this situation and I will definitely be checking into the support group as well.

Paul...from wales 4 years ago

Thankyou so much for your great insight into this seemingly common problem.

Am am 65 and just discharged from hospital with usual aftercare follow up.

This is my second Embolism last one in other lung 7 years ago....I still work a few days a week in heavy industry and although i fully understand after last episode how long the "recovery" can take i am afraid the people who employ me dont...they expect a quick return to work!! A i believe my health is more important than few extra shillings then i will shortly be reviewing my options.

I too suffer from the after effects of breathing problems and discomfort which still remain with me to this day.

Now i have been lucky enough to survive this second Embolism i know i will recover but albeit a very long process...So i say to all who read this...YES it will change your life but the secret is to adapt to your new life as soon as you can.

My grateful Thanks.....Paul Baker...South Wales U.K.

poshpadz profile image

poshpadz 4 years ago from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Hello, I have just returned home after suffering from a pulmonary embolism this past week.....I am scared to death!

I am a 44 year old woman who is in good shape and have been in good health overall until last week.

I had been feeling very tired and stressed as well as having a shortness in breath for the past 2 years and it seemed to get worse a couple of weeks prior to my episode, but I just chalked it up to overwork and stress as my business is a full time 7 days a week position with high levels of long hours and daily challenges.

I hate doctors & hospitals and am very head strong and self reliant. So when I started getting tightness in chest and pain along with an increased amount of shortness of breath on a daily basis for 2 weeks straight I just thought no need to worry or go to doctors as I can deal with it.

Finally the pain got so bad that I made the decision have my fiance' take me to the local ER.

On the way my hands got numb, my face & lips got numb, the pain in my chest was excruciating, I could hardly breath and I honestly thought I was going to die in the car on the way to hospital!

Thank Goodness I made it, and at first everyone in the ER was taking my symptoms very lightly saying that I was just having a panic attack.

A cardiologist thought I should get a CT scan,and then they found that I had a pulmonary Embolism in my lower right lung and I was admitted immediately to critical care.

Lots of questions and blood test ruled out all the normal causes for the lung clot, and everyone was stumped. They did a ultrasound on my legs and found nothing that would be typical for the cause of the clot.

After that they put me on Lovenox shots twice a day as well as a Coumadin pill once a day.

Blood tests did find that I was dangerously anemic which would help explain why I always felt so fatigued all the time.

A hematologist insisted that I get intravenous iron to raise my levels which also worried me as I have always been highly allergic to most medications and am ultra sensitive to many things.

He suggested Infed, so I checked it out on my Ipad and saw all the possible allergic reactions....which also said they must have a "crash unit" in the room and ready when giving a test dose as it could cause Anaphylactic shock! I said "NO WAY" to that drug and was very upset that they would even suggest it given all of my medication allergies which included Penicillin, Codeine, Morphine, & Percocet.

He then suggested Venofer which was a "safer option" so I read up on that one too.

It seems much safer so I gave the OK for a test dose....Guess what? I had an allergic reaction to it!

After getting thru that added drama, I then said I would not be taking anything further for the iron issue as I had enough on my plate to deal with and to me the iron deficiency was the least of my problems at the moment.

They suggested that if I did not get my Iron levels up I would need a blood transfusion. I said that's fine but right now I want only to deal with the blood clot in my lungs.

Also as they could not figure where the blood clot came from I asked them if it would have resulted from the fact that I suffer from terrible bleeding and clotting during my menstrual periods.

* as a side note my gynecologist found I had several fibroid tumors a few years ago which contributes to my monthly agony*

The hematology doctor said this has probably caused my severe anemia.

I then recommended they do a CT scan of my lower abdomen to see if there where further issues in that area that may have caused the embolism.

They found that there were a large amount of "issues" down in that area that I should go back to my gynecologist for to discuss further options....not good news it seems and now I have that to add to my worries.

Long story short, I have just returned home yesterday after a week in the hospital with a INR level of 1.9 and feel like a hot mess!

I have been given 5 mg Warfarin pills to take daily and am due to see the hematologist tomorrow along with my regular GP to test my INR level again.

I am exhausted beyond belief and am scared as hell!

Today I feel so weak and very anxious as I totally understand that I am very lucky to be alive at this point.

I found this page as a result of not knowing what is going to happen next as nobody gave me any information on what to expect and what I should do for my recovery.

I have been very active with a go, go, go attitude which has made this experience very mind numbing to say the least.

What am I supposed to do? How should I be feeling? What are the danger signs I should look out for? Will I get better? Will I have another embolism? Will I die from this?

Very scary indeed!

Reading thru your story and that of the many others I feel somewhat enlightened but again very very scared.

I have been feeling a lot of aching in both of my legs today along with the shortness of breath and extreme fatigue.

Should I call someone? Should I go back to hospital? Is this normal?

Also my period is due sometime in the next week, and this has me shaking in my boots!

I just don't know!!! I feel so depressed....keep crying on and off.

I also feel very guilty as my fiance is my business partner (we run our company together) and he is now having to try and run the whole business on his own which is extremely difficult.

There is no way I can work at the moment and I have no idea when if ever I will be able to get back to work and back to living a "normal life".

Any thoughts and or suggestions would be so gratefully appreciated.

Once again thank you for this site!

Kaylyn from Florida.......

lfahl 4 years ago

It has been one year since my PE was diagnosed. I have progressed with treatment much as everyone else. I am doing fine except for one major thing for me. Whenever I exercise I have breathing problems. I have shortness of breath. I stop the exercise shortly after the onset and rest. The breathing returns to normal. This breathing irregularity seems to occur if it is too warm or too cold. I had a ct the first of October which indicated everything was fine and was taken off the coumadin. The middle of November I had a d-dimer run and everything was fine then, too. How can I find out if my pe is dissolving or if it will be a permanent part of my lungs because it has encapsulated? I am assuming that nothing else has gone wrong.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Your ct has that answer. If the clot is still there I believe it will still show on a ct. Get a copy of the ct pics and ask a doctor to explain them and answer your question. I think in lungs clots typically dissolve unlike in other veins. It sounds like your breathing has triggers. You may wish to explore breathing therapy/lessons- a speech language therapist did mine - that help you relax your airways. Also, consider asking about asthma, vocal chord dysfunction, or other diagnoses that would impair or constrict breathing.

alison 4 years ago

i cant thank u enough for writing your story, i have 2 pe and i have the cough and the high heart rate, the doctors were the same with me and didnt have a clue about my recovery time, reading what you wrote has gave me alot of answeres to the questions the doctors never answered and i cant thank you enough for well and good recovery to you xxx

Caren P 4 years ago

I can never thank you enough for writing this down...I have just come out of hospital and feel that I will be this way forever...but after reading this I realise I won't...each day is slightly better..once the pain goes life will improve. Thank you again

Trish Arford 4 years ago

I am so happy I found your page! I was diagnosed with PE about 3 weeks ago. I am 36 years old, I went in for a hysterectomy and ended up with PE. The very night I had my surgery I kept telling the nurses and docs that my chest hurt and they kept saying it was normal after surgery. I came home with so much pain it felt like someone was standing on my chest. It was so severe I never even felt the pain from the hysterectomy. The pain continued and worsened for a week. Again, I called my doc and they said it was ok. After another few days they finally agreed to see me. They sent me to the ER after seeing how high my heart rate was and how much trouble I was having taking in a breath. It felt like I was being stabbed every time I breathed in. I thought I had pnemonia. It turned out I have several clots in my upper and lower left lung and several in my lower right lung. I had never heard of PE until then. I have been having a hard time with this and no one seems to have any answers for what to expect. This page has been very helpful. At least I don't feel like I am being a drama queen since I am still so tired and having pain. It's nice to know someone understands. Thanks again!

Grady28 4 years ago

A week ago I was admitted to ER with blood clots in my right arm. They kept me in hospital overnight and released me the next daY. Few days later, my heart was racing and I was rushed to hospital where a CT scan found 2 small clots in my lung. I was admitted again and released late the following day. I am now home on the clotting drugs trying to get better. There is pain in my left chest that won't go away even though the clots were in my right side. Also having a hard time staying relaxed. I'm a 45 year old male in Bethesda, MD.

LoreleiS profile image

LoreleiS 4 years ago from The Poconos, PA, USA

I am so glad I came across this page, because there is nothing else on the Internet about this. I was diagnosed with a PE last week. I have been home for 3 1/2 days now and I'm scared. I have some mild pains like I did when I went into the ER, but nothing as bad as when I was admitted. It's good to know that these pains may just be part of the recovery process, but I will tell my doctor tomorrow anyway.

Amanda 4 years ago

Thank you for this site! Until last night, I have been made to feel like a hysterical hypochondriac. I was diagnosed other a PE a little over a month ago, spent 10 days in the hospital and was in excruciating pain the whole time. My doctor has tried to tell me that my pain must be an unrelated muscular problem and will not entertain the option that this is still the PE. I was really starting to feel crazy. I have been in the ER 2 times with the most frightening chest pain and finally was talked to with respect and told that I have to expect symptoms until I am completely healed and that my pain is very real and most certainly not muscular. Researching a hemotologist today and getting a new primary care physician ASAP. Thank you for talking about the time after the hospital because for me, no one else has until now.

poshpadz profile image

poshpadz 4 years ago from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Hello all,

It has now been 3 weeks since my PE experience and 2 weeks since my return home.

What a bumpy ride!

Like many on this site I too was so thankful to find it, and also have many unanswered questions regarding my symptoms and future.

I can tell you that since my return home I have been on Warfarin at 5mg per day, and have had many many days of feeling exhausted and worried to death.

Last week I almost passed out and could not walk without help from my fiance....I have been experiencing excruciating pain in my chest as well as terrible leg & arm cramps / pain accompanied by tingling sensations that come and go in waves. I also kept getting intense cold shivers where my teeth would not stop chattering...My face & feet were swollen, I was extremely pale in color,and I had 2 bruises on my legs that appeared out of the blue.

When I went to my hematologist this week I was so weak,I could barely walk and my lips were actually blue...all the while I was in extreme pain from head to toe. I explained my symptoms to the doctor and he told me that he could not explain why I was having them as my oxygen level was 100% and my blood pressure was normal. My PNR was at 1.5 which I thought was very low and he suggested In raise my Warfarin intake to 6.5 mg per day.

I called my regular MD and he said I should take 7.5 mg of warfarin as maybe I just needed an adjustment of my dosage as getting the blood levels right takes trial & error over time....

Well I went ahead and raised my dosage to 7 mg for 2 days after that and yesterday morning I felt like I was on deaths doorstep. My fiance was so upset seeing how debilitated I was, and decided to look online for what might be causing me to feel this way as it did not seem normal.

He found the following information on side effects on the Mayo Clinic website.

NOTES TO ALL: Warfarin has many severe side effects which include but are not limited to:

Warfarin side effects that require immediate medical attention

Severe bleeding

Black stool or bleeding from the rectum

Skin conditions such as hives, a rash or itching

Swelling of the face, throat, mouth, legs, feet or hands

Bruising that comes about without an injury you remember

Chest pain or pressure

Nausea or vomiting

Fever or flu-like symptoms

Joint or muscle aches


Difficulty moving

Numbness or tingling in any part of your body

Painful erection lasting four hours or longer

Although rare, warfarin can also cause skin tissue death (necrosis) and gangrene requiring amputation. This complication most often happens three to eight days after you start taking warfarin. If you notice any sores, changes in skin color or temperature, or severe pain on your skin, notify your doctor immediately.

Less serious warfarin side effects to tell your doctor about:Gas, Feeling cold, Fatigue,Pale skin,Changes in the way foods taste & Hair loss!

Well as you can see after reading the serious side effects...I myself had been suffering from more than half of the "serious side effects"!!!

Now I am no doctor nor is my fiance but to find out that the medication that I was prescribed by "REAL DOCTORS" may be the reason why I was so ill is just infuriating say the least! Especially as none of them ever mentioned ANY possible side effects nor did any of them spot the signs of "side effects"I was clearly displaying when I saw them & spoke to them this week.

My fiance called the hematologist & my MD and shared his new found knowledge of these Warfarin side effects with the doctors and all they could say is "I'm sorry" I do apologize....

Not good enough in my humble opinion.

Since finding out the news yesterday morning I decided not to take my daily Warfarin dosage and to schedule an appointment to see a brand new hematologist later today.

So now the last dose I took of Warfarin was Tuesday morning at 9 am, and today I am feeling amazingly better:)

I know this can be dangerous to stop all together so I do not recommend it for anyone else, however I do recommend that you do your homework on ANY drugs the doctors want you to take, and to be your own monitor as to how you are feeling after you start taking any new medications....look for the side effects please.

After researching all the blood thinners available I feel that Lovenox is the least dangerous, and this is what I will be requesting from my new doctor today as I know I must remain on some sort of blood thinner to avoid any future clots.

Lovenox must be injected so this may not be the number one choice for may out there and it is apparently more expensive than many other blood thinners, but it is by far the safest option available if you do your homework on blood thinners.

I just thought I would share my personal experience to date with all of you as I see that there seem to be many of you which are experiencing the chest pains ( such as Amanda & Lorelei S above my comment), and body aches / food for thought to all to consider.

Talk to your doctors......get SECOND opinions....educate yourself so that you can make the best decisions for your needs rather than just being a number at the pharmaceutical counter.

Comments always welcome and I will share more updates on my own experiences very soon.

Good luck to all:)

Kaylyn....from Florida

Amanda 4 years ago

Hi Kaylyn,

I am so glad you posted a comment! I started my outpatient treatment on Warfarin and had some of the same serious side effects! My husband rushed me to the ER a week or so after I was out of the hospital because I was so dizzy that I couldn't walk straight and in so much pain all over my body that I could barely move. The doctors in the ER had never heard of a reaction like this to Warfarin and dismissed the symptoms as a virus and sent me home. Last week, on the day that I was scheduled to go to my doctor and talk about other med options, I passed out while walking down the stairs and fell all the way down the staircase and onto our lovely hardwood floors. And, back to the ER we went because I had no idea if I hit my head and my knee was immeditely swollen, purple (aka) blood. My INR was 3.9!!! The ER doctor told me to not take Warfarin for 2 days and see my doctor the third day for a switch to something else. I asked her about Lovenox and she thought that would be much better for someone with this type of side effects.

Needless to say, I did my research, like you did and told my doctor to switch my med to Lovenox at that appointment. I have been taking it for almost a week. It's a little scary to do the injections at first, but it's really easy. Just be ready for the meds to burn for a few minutes after the injection. The body pain and dizziness is completely gone, so I will take a little burn any day over that!

The chest pain I am having feels more like a crushing pain and it gets sharp. I went to my doctor today and she seemed to think that I was being rediculous to think that my PE could cause pain like I had when they detected it orginally. I tend to think logically and if I think about this, I find it hard to beleive that something that causes pain when it is present, can in no way cause pain again, if it's still present. It just defies logic, in my opinion. So, I am going to take the advice of the ER doctor I saw last night (the 4th visit, which is so embarassing to me) and find a new PCP and Hemotologist immediately.

If you want to contact me, please feel free to e-mail me:

Wishing you good health,


Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Lovenox is really the only other choice out there. Use ice and the injections aren't bad. Anything you put into your body can cause a reaction and there is no way for the FDA to know every single person's possible reactions.

If at any time something doesn't seem right, do what is mentioned above, become you're own advocate. Pharmacists and nurse lines are additional resources.

Good luck with the med change. I hope it fixes everything.

poshpadz profile image

poshpadz 4 years ago from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Hello all ( Amanda included),

Well as mentioned in my post yesterday I went to a new hematologist to discuss the sever allergic reactions I was experiencing from taking Warfarin.

I went with a folder of information that I had printed out on all the side effects possible from Warfarin, in which I was suffering 14 out of the 19 possible side effects! I also printed out information on all other blood thinners which included Lovenox as I wanted to be fully prepared and educated when speaking to this new doctor about what my options were for replacement of the I decided I would NOT take anymore of that medication.


We discussed all my symptoms, and he too agreed that Lovenox was the very best option and wrote me a prescription on the spot! Phewww finally someone who got it!!

We also discussed the crushing and excruciating pain I was experiencing in my chest which has me on constant alert and is very very stressful.

He said that it is not a NORMAL thing and perhaps there is some sort of muscular / tissue damage which has been caused by the PE.

Again...finally someone who did not just brush it off as something that was all in my head!

He has suggested that I come in next week for more extensive tests, so that he can go in depth into what may be causing this pain. Even though Warfarin can cause chest pain he does not think it is as simple as that.

I felt soooooooo relieved to know that someone is actually listening to me and cares enough to go deeper into finding a cause for my pain.

I have an appointment to see this new doctor again on Monday for more tests so I will of course share my news with all of you in hopes that it may be helpful to others.

Amanda from an earlier comment, is also going thru the same ordeal it seems and I wish her great luck in finding new doctors that will actually HEAR her clearly and help to find a resolve as we should not be suffering in this way....especially after all that we have been thru. Amanda you may contact me directly at if you too need any further info or want to share your updates directly.

Enough is enough I say!

My new doctor said that the Warfarin will take about 4 to 5 days to fully leave my system so I will continue to feel rough for a few more days at least...but at least I can rest a bit easier now that I have the Lovenox as a replacement. He said to drink LOADS of water to flush my system out.

Why, oh why is it so difficult to find doctors that listen? We are all individuals and should not be treated as a textbook case....DO NO HARM is part of the Hippocratic oath:

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means "First, do no harm". The phrase is sometimes recorded as primum nil nocere.[1]

Nonmaleficence, which derives from the maxim, is one of the principal precepts of medical ethics that all medical students are taught in medical school and is a fundamental principle for emergency medical services around the world. Another way to state it is that "given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good." It reminds the physician and other health care providers that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.

This is something I think many people in the medical field have overlooked and that is why we must all stand strong and educate ourselves.....and again seek out the few that will actually hear us, and "do no harm".

My father, my Mother & my sister are all registered nurses so I definitely understand the pressures that people in the medical field can face, however it is extremely important that if this is your chosen vocation you must remember that you are given a very special gift of helping to save lives....Do not take it for granted!

And as a patient....never be complacent, as in the end it is your life that is at stake and you must do your homework especially if you have been diagnosed with a serious illness or have suffered from a very life threatening incident such as a PE.

I am lucky to be here, and I am so grateful to the author of this blog as it has saved me in many ways....Thank you Lwelch!

And I want to thank all of you out there that are here now, and offer my best wishes to all for a speedy and healthy recovery.

Stay strong even when it seems hopeless and if you don't feel you are getting the care you deserve or that the doctors are not listening to you....Seek further advice and knowledge from other sources including this blog.

You are not crazy and you have a voice.. so SPEAK UP:)and keep sharing your experiences as it will most surely be helpful to others who are lucky enough to find this blog.

Further updates to come....

Kaylyn.....from Florida

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author


That is awesome. Great job researching and advocating. I recommend writing a hub on advocating and how to do it. Not many patients do it. I learned to early on when I was told to go do stress management to treat crippling migraines I was loosing 6-8 days a month to. Read, read reliable, authoritative resources, ask questions, use all available medical personnel... Nurses, nurse line, primary care, other doctors you see, pharmacists etc. emedicine is a great site as are any sites with the honcode certification.

Perseverance is what has many of us alive. Keep it up. If your doctor isn't working, be assertive with evidence and logs of symptoms and professionally confront them or get a new doc. Sometimes docs just need some education.

I wonder if consuming vitamin k would ease your symptoms. Might be worth asking. I have info on giving yourself a lovenox shot somewhere... I forget which hub, likely the blood clot question and answer hub.

If you do a hub, let me know. I am happy to link to any professional, well cited and authoritative hub.

I am glad your new doc is a better match!

Grady28 4 years ago

Kaylan - Thanks for your post. I'm now off Lovenox as my INR level was 2.8 a few days ago. I'm having some chest pressure but not really pain. Sort of feels like my chest just below ribs wants to collapse into itself. Strange feeling which I'm monitoring. Still out of wind when climbing stairs and not yet confident enough to go to the gym. I totally agree about staying on top of your doctors or finding new ones if they don't listen. A lot of docs are quick to point to anxiety when they can't find a reason for something. Having gone through a period of high anxiety a few years ago and on Lexapro for past 2 years, I do know that chest pressure and pain can be anxiety. However, it can also be a lot of other things and just because there is no firm diagnoses, one should never feel insecure for persuing their condition. You know your body more than anyone and (as most of us with PEs found out) we know when something aint right. 2 weeks ago I stopped by thee ER to have my arm checked out. Primary care doc thought it was an infection. Turned out to be blood clots in my upper and lower right arm. After a night in hospital they let me out. The vascular surgeon said it was my choice to go on blood thinners. He said if it were him, he wouldn't cause the likelihood of a clot in my arm going to my lung was small. I asked what he would say if it were his brother. He replied "I'd advise him to go on warfarin.". I chose to go on warfare and Lovenox. 3 days later, I was rushed to hospital with - you guessed it - clots in my lung. The vascular surgeon stopped by my room and said now it's 100 percent to be on warfarin. I'll keep the site posted on my progress. The hemotologist is running a ton of tests to try and find out the cause. I'll know more next Friday (I hope).

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I love what you asked him, "what would you do if this were your brother." that is a powerful question and a great tool.

poshpadz profile image

poshpadz 4 years ago from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Good morning all!

Firstly I would like to say thank you to Lwelch for your kind comment on my own hub. To be honest I am not very tech savvy so I would not even know where to start on that:)

I would definitely consider that as I have found your hub to be invaluable to me personally and would love to help out others who are trying to find their way thru the fog of a serious illness or trauma such as a PE. Any help you can offer would be wonderful to contact me direct.

Secondly I would like to say hello to Grady28 and say well done for pushing your medical care providers to do more tests and for posing a very good question to your doctor ( I asked what he would say if it were his brother. He replied "I'd advise him to go on warfarin.").

Again many patients never ask or question their health care providers about what is happening with their body, how should I be feeling, what are my options for treatments, and what are the benefits & the dangers of all treatments available?

So again well done Grady28!

Another thing I have personally found very odd thru my ongoing PE experience is the fact that nobody has mentioned a thing about how to care for myself in order to get the best possible recovery results??

Should I be exercising? If so what types of exercise would be most beneficial? What about stretching or Yoga type activities? One would think that just lying around in bed or on the couch all day cant be all that good for us??

Obviously our bodies have gone thru a serious shock & trauma so we should not expect to go for a run around the block, however it would seem logical that in order to build our strength back up not only physically but mentally that some sort of activity would be helpful.

Fortunately I am lucky enough to have my own pool, and yesterday I decide that perhaps doing a few easy arm & leg movements in the water might be helpful to loosen up my tight & aching muscles. I also took slow and deep breaths (as best as I could)feeling that this to would be helpful for my cardiovascular system as well as my brain (oxygen intake is excellent for all of us).

The whole time I was in the pool doing these light movements I kept on thinking "why hasn't anyone discussed this type of body care with me yet?"

It just left be baffled and annoyed....

I spent 15 minutes in total doing these exercises in the pool and slowly made my way out feeling quite peaceful and amazingly refreshed in both body & spirit.

This morning I woke and did 5 minutes of slow stretching while seated on the floor, again I also did slow and deep breathing the whole time and so far so good.

We all understand that we are "not well" and that we have been thru a great deal of trauma both physically and mentally. So I would think that finding things that are beneficial to us (besides medications...)such as calm exercise, relaxing breathing techniques, and gentle stretching would be excellent for our physical recovery and very helpful in regards to focusing our minds on something else besides be ILL!

Healing the body & mind go hand in hand, and again I pose the question....why are the doctors not talking to us about these types of things???

Another thing I find very odd is that comment from Grady28's doctor " He said if it were him, he wouldn't cause the likelihood of a clot in my arm going to my lung was small".

I don't care how SMALL the chances are my friends....if there is a ANY chance I want someone to pay attention and care for me as it is me that will suffer and perhaps die in the end IF that small chance actually happens!

My doctors keep telling me the very same thing...I have a very small PE lodged in my lower lung so I should be fine and the chances of it dislodging and going to my heart is very small....OH BOY!

Absolutely absurd reply and I say " not good enough doc".

So again here I am having to ask all the questions and insist that that I have more tests.

Another thing they have said is that they cant figure out why I suffered the PE?? Did all the "normal tests" and found nothing that would be the cause.

I asked them "would fibroid tumors possibly cause the blood clot"?

They said unlikely....As I suffer from these I thought to myself...seriously fibroid tumors are blood clots in a sense, so why is it so unlikely that one of them could have broken off and caused the PE?

So I researched the subject and have found that contrary to what the doctors have told me...It IS possible and has happened to other females although it is rare (or has gone unreported).

Once I found all this out I insisted on getting a CT scan of my lower abdomen, and they found that I had many fibroids and they said I should see my gynecologist sooner than later. Hmmmm thanks for that!

They still think that the chances that my PE came from the fibroids is very unlikely but now they are not ruling it out as there has been no other cause that they can find.

Again self education, education, education...

Why is it that we have to ask...or demand more testing to be done to find out potential causes for the PE and or further hazards that may be lurking under our body's surface?

The doctors have suggested that another CT of my lungs be done in 6 months time to check the status of my PE...I say WHY WAIT SO LONG?????

If you don't feel right within yourself and or are concerned that something isn't right...speak up! We are paying for our healthcare so if we think we should have another test sooner than later by goodness then we should have it!

Just more food for thought by Kaylyn....from Florida

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I know that I spoke to my general doc about recovery. He recommended walking, yoga, and meditative breathing. I bought a heart rate monitor and pedometer to track my exertion and progress.

I also just tried to do what I could. In the beginning 15 minutes a a grocery store was very hard. I ran a lot of errands with mom. I walked until I felt sick and done. The time got longer and longer.

The lungs are there to catch clots. You should be fine. There is no perfect guarantee but multiple docs told me and my parents that the worst had happened.

You will want to be retested for clotting conditions after you are off of anticoagulation therapy. Anticoagulants change your blood chemistry so they can only test you accurately for genetic thrombophilia right now. That is a very small group.

You may never find the real cause though. Factor v Leiden was only found in 1994. There are likely many other clotting conditions that have yet to be discovered or named.

poshpadz profile image

poshpadz 4 years ago from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Hi Lwelch,

I just wanted to ask you...How are YOU feeling these days?

As you started this hub a couple of years ago, I see you were charting your progress for some time, but now it seems you spend so much of your time helping others.....and we (me) should be checking in on you too:)

Have you made a full recovery? How is your physical & mental health today?

Wishing you good energy and thanks for all you offer to everyone on this hub!

Kaylyn.....from Florida

LoreleiS profile image

LoreleiS 4 years ago from The Poconos, PA, USA

Do any of you think sitting around too much, like too much time in front of a computer or in front of the TV, can cause these clots to begin with?

poshpadz profile image

poshpadz 4 years ago from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Hello LoreleiS,

Personally I feel that it is possible as being sedentary is not healthy....even when you are "healthy" if you know what I mean.

How are you feeling since your last post? Any news or updates would be good to hear.

Kaylyn....from Florida

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Any time you sit still it can cause clots. A good rule of thumb is to get up at least once every 1-2 hours.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I am pretty much back to normal. I am aware now that I am mortal. I wonder when I travel, am sick in bed, dehydrated, or feel funny if I am clotting. I need sinus surgery and am afraid of the clots. That is the lasting change.

I have had no more clots. I am off of anticoagulation therapy unless I need it due to periods of high risk like pregnancy.

Therapy helped with mental confusion and emotions from surviving. I have more confidence and direction than I did before the clots.

It took almost a full 2 years. It does get better. I hate running and yet when my endurance returned I would sprint through parking lots because I could and that was wonderful.

I still have vocal chord dysfunction problems but I may have had that without the clots. Otis mostly controlled and only a mild irritation.

LoreleiS profile image

LoreleiS 4 years ago from The Poconos, PA, USA

Kaylyn and Lwelch:

I am definitely addicted to the internet and spend way too much time sitting in front of the computer, and I also have a sedentary job. But I think I get up and walk around more at work than I do at home.

Tomorrow is two weeks since I was admitted to the hospital, and this past Thursday is one week since I was discharged.

I went back to work this past Wednesday. I'm kind of glad I did, because it keeps me active.

I am a total basket case. I have leg cramps and back pain and rib pain, so I'm convinced that I'm dying of blood clots. I always thought that if I got very ill I'd be the poster child for positive thinking and fighting, but I feel like curling up in a ball and dying because I feel like it's useless and I won't win. I feel like I'm going to turn into one big blood clot and die. I'm taking my Coumadin faithfully. I got a blood test yesterday and my pt was 1.97, so I've been given one extra mg each night this weekend and I get another blood test on Monday. The vitamin K thing has me going insane. I think I'm either eating too much or not enough. I never paid attention to my green leafy vegetable intake before. I always went days without vegetables. Now I'm just having one teaspoon of veggies a day to keep it constant. I really would rather just have super-thin blood and know that I'm not going to clot than eat vegetables at all, but I know that's wrong. I wish I could just forget about this and go on with life as usual. But I'm terrified of dying every moment. I feel like I have no control at all.

Helen K 4 years ago

This website is a godsend! My husband had multiple PE's (probably showers) just before Christmas last year and after 8 weeks it has been a rollercoaster ride.

The big question, of course is why? His is an active

non sedentary man, had undertaken no long journey or sustained any injury.

One thing that came up in our research was eating a high animal fat diet. His cholesterol is raised at 7.4, and we have read that having raised cholesterol can cause other chemical changes within the blood. Certain unwanted clotting factors then start kick in.

Another factor was dehydration - too much alcohol and too little water!

He is very frustrated with his recovery rate. He has breathing difficulties with SOB, spurious burning pains, weird heart effects and coldness and tingling in his legs along with pain. He feels 'fluey' and generally ill and exhausted. Excercise seems to make him worse, so he is virtually bed bound at the moment.

The doctors here in the UK don't seem as on top of things as in the US! He has had no follow up tests and has been assured that once he's on medication no more clots can travel to the lungs. I'm not so sure about this. Can anyone confirm?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

It is very unlikely to have subsequent lung clots but not impossible. If he feels bad it may be worth asking about a trial of name brand Coumadin or switching to Lovenox. I felt unwell until I was off of warfarin. I have problems with Tylenol though and was using that rather than aspirin for migraines. I don't know if it was the warfarin or the Tylenol.

I have never heard of cholesterol impacting venous clots, but it may. I am not a doctor. After he is off of anticoagulation you may want to have a hematologist test him for clotting conditions.

8 weeks is very early in recovery. I wasn't back at work at that point myself. Hang in there!

POSHPADZ 4 years ago

Hello All,

To LoreleiS....The continual fear and terror you are experiencing is the same thing that most, if not all of us have been experiencing as well.

The constant worry of the unknown can take a serious toll on our mental state no matter how positive of a thinker we are in general. So please know that you are NOT alone and we are all here to help, if only by supplying more information and sharing our own experiences.

I have read thru all of the comments on this hub from beginning to end and one thing that keeps coming up is the pain in chest and overall fatigue and body ache symptoms. Another similarity I am noticing is that almost everyone who is having these stressful symptoms is either on Coumadin or Warfarin.


Coincidence? Not sure but does seem a bit suspicious to me.

I posted a few days ago that I was experiencing 14 out the 19 serious side effects from Warfarin which I was taking faithfully everyday after my release from hospital...

I have now gone off of Warfarin and am on lovenox.....what a difference!

Chest pains are getting less painful & frequent, and the body aches are slowing improving as well. Again Coincidence???

Another think with Loveneox is the risk of side effects is extremely low from what I have read in numerous articles and there are no dietary restrictions. You can have as much of vitamin K as you like or none at all ( which LoreleiS should appreciate).

I highly recommend anyone out there who is suffering the side effects symptoms whilst on Warfarin or Coumedin to please read more about lovenox and speak to your doctor about changing to see if that makes you feel any better. You have nothing to loose and for me it has been a real gain indeed!

LoreleiS I applaud you for going back to work so quickly, I would ask if you are financially able to take more sick leave? You have been thru a life altering trauma and one of the things that has affected all of us bedsides the physical issues is MENTAL STRESS!

If you are able to take m ore time off I really would advise. This along with switching from Warfarin / Coumadin to Lovenox could make a world of difference to your quality of life.

LoreleiS please give us all another update as we are here to help!

To Helen from the UK....of course it is possible for more blood clots to happen and can travel to your husbands lungs no matter whether or not he is on medication or not. Absolutely absurd behavior and answers from your GP.

Please seek further advice / information via internet and healthcare professionals. I would personally be looking immediately for another GP & a very good hematologist at this moment.

I have already been around that block and have had to be my own best supporter for getting the treatment I need.

I Strongly ask that you do not sit idly by as there is help available to you, but unfortunately you will need to do the legwork.

Please tell your husband what you have read on this hub and work together to get further help, as he deserves to be heard and well cared for.

The doctors have yet to find any "normal" reason for my PE and are miffed.... doesn't mean it didn't happen and wont happen again....unfortunately.

I am very switched on now as to what works for me personally and have spent the last 3 weeks educating myself about PE's and all that goes along with them.

This knowledge has given me hope and strength to "keep calm and carry on" as they say in the UK ( My fiance is from England:).

Please give us further updates on your husbands journey and know that we all wish him & you good and healing energy thru it all.

Keep talking everyone, as this gives us all hope and strength in moments of doubt and stress.

Kaylyn....from Florida

Grad28 4 years ago

Thanks for the continued postings. On warfarin for over 2.5 weeks and my energy levels really low. Walked 1.5 miles yesterday which left me exhausted. Still slight pain in chest and dry cough. I plan to ease back into the gym tomorrow...and will take it real slow. I am getting sonogram of arms and legs tomorrow to see how clots are doing and see if there are anymore. I am having some pain in my right calt. Doc said even if it were a small clot, I'm getting the treatment needed. I have an appt on fri to check INR level (2 days ago at 2.8) and get results of blood work from hematologist. Will keep ya all posted.

David from Bethesda, MD

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Keep in mind as you recover that energy levels will be low for some time. Your lungs and body are using more energy than typical to heal, break down clots, and regrow healthy lung (and maybe heart o other organ) tissue. That is a lot of work. While that is going on, you are getting less oxygen than you would before the clot. Low oxygen makes you tired. It is the reason why people with anemia become fatigued. Listen to you body and stay as active as is comfortable. That is amazing that you are doing 1.5 miles already. I know that may sound like a small accomplishment to you, but it was months for me and I know that is the case for many others.

Each day will have growth and success. Your 1.5 miles is a great start! Congratulations! Keep it up!

4 years ago

Hi Everyone,

This site is just so great to have - thanks :)

Does anyone still experience chest pressure and irregular heart rates/beats? I had my PE in November and sometimes experience those symptoms ... it worries me but I think it's a symptom of taking warfarin/residual effects from the PE.

Thought id see what you guys have experienced.


Helen K 4 years ago

Thank you Kwelch and Kayleigh for your encouraging comments and support.

Regarding the high fat diet, I quote from 'Food Your Miracle Medicine' by Jean Carper -

"Go easy on fat if you want to keep your blood free of clots.Unquestionably a high fat diet does bad things to your blood, beyond boosting your cholesterol. Too much fat can also buck up the blood's tendency to coagulate and form dangerous clots. A recent study by researchers and South Jutland University Center in Denmark found that high amounts of saturated animal type fats and certain omega-6 polyunsaturated vegetable fats such as corn oil, promoted fibrinogen (clotting factor)".

We are definitely looking to changing our diet back to a largely vegetarian one with very little animal fat of any kind. But lean poultry meat and salmon are fine. Salmon, especially, has blood thinning properties!

Helen K 4 years ago

Sorry for the typo of your name earlier, Lweclch!

Helen K 4 years ago

Haha, and another! I haven't got my reading glasses on...

LoreleiS profile image

LoreleiS 4 years ago from The Poconos, PA, USA

Hello Kaylynn and Lwelch!

Hello everyone else!

I had a PT test today and it was good, so the doctor told me not to worry about the leg cramps. I had a banana last night and again this morning, and the cramps are not gone but better, so maybe it was potassium after all.

Nothing else new to report besides that, other than I'm having the typical anxiety over the whole situation.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Awesome! I had leg pains after my PE and they found no clots when I first went to the hospital so I doubt that is what it was. I have heard that from others as well. It could very well be that the inactivity did it. Some things we will never know.

sarah 4 years ago

i em 22 but i was 21 when i had a pe in my left lung in june of 2011 they dont know why i got the pe i em in pain 24 7 still and my left arm kills me daily too im they say they want to take me off blood thinners in june but i dont know how i feel about that because im alway in pain still and they dont no why i em i almost done with treatment ? any one feel the same way i feel like crap and scared all the time !!!!!!!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

6-12 months is a typical time to be on blood thinners. It is nerve wracking going off of them. I have been off for two years and while I don't panic about it, there is always an "I wonder if it's a clot" in the back of my mind. The blood thinners won't help with the pain as it is likely due from damage from the clot. I bet you will feel a lot better by June. I know that seems hard to believe. You might also feel better off of the blood thinners. I know I did!

As for the fear, I recommend a few things:

1. Get a hematologist and have s/he test for clotting disorders in June when you are off of Coumadin. You can then make an informed choice about anticoagulation therapy for life. You will know the risk and can decide if it is acceptable to you.

2. Get counseling - I did, it helps.

3. Try yoga or meditation to ease pain and worry

4. Call your insurance to see if they have a nurse line or a nurse case manager who can work with you. Mine had one that called me when I got out of the hospital. I was in shock. She was amazing at interpreting stuff for me and letting me know when to push doctors for better answers.

5. If you don't have a general practitioner, get one. They are great for second opinions and explanations of what is going on.

tenkat 4 years ago

Thank you for this! I just spent 5 days in the hospital after a PE and subsequent revelation of DVT. I am 45 and have none of the "classic" risk factors for this condition. My internist says I am likely on warfarin for life. Just saw her today for my follow-up and the levels are good, so I am cleared to go back to work.

I already have asthma and small airway damage from living in a house with hidden mold, but this breathlessness is much different than my asthma attacks. I get phlegmy and cough junk up when in an asthma attack. The PE was like trying to breathe at 15,000 feet above sea level. I even blacked out. I am so fortunate that there was no damage to my heart.

I was relieved to read that my continued high heart rate is not unusual. Mine was the same as yours upon admittance (as was my O2 level) and my BP was 188/144. Reading all of this is a great reminder to NOT push myself when I go back to work tomorrow.


Helen K 4 years ago

My husband has had a rough week. Some days he felt like he was dying. But today has been much better and he's up and about doing things, though still not exercising. Exercise really stressed out his lungs which is what seemed to set him back.

Talking with people and reading posts on here, it seems that his care has been very poor.

He has had no scans of his legs, no follow up treatment or advice. Basically just sent home with warfarin and instructions to get his INR checked regualarly.

The doctors here don't seem to have a clue about what to expect or what's going on inside his body.

But then that's the British National Health Service for you! It is in a state of collapse and so they are going to cut corners. People are dying on trolleys in hospital corridors over here, or are found to be severely malnourished or dehydrated during a hospital stay.

Hospitals here are really the last place you want to be in if you are ill

Thank goodness we have you guys. You are so helpful and knowledgeable!

Helen K 4 years ago

One good tip - sleep propped up on at least 3 pillows to aid restful sleep. It's hard to breathe lying down.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I know that the uk is a mess but I have known people with good care. I wouldn't have had a hematologist or blood work for clotting had it not been for a nurse who told me to ask for one. The lack of leg sonography is more worrisome as it is where most clots form and there could be more that may break off. I was forbidden from walking or getting out of bed until my legs were cleared.

Ask questions and advocate for your husband. It is necessary in the states at times as well. With some work I bet you can get the care that you want.

Helen K 4 years ago

He was told to get as much exercise as possible so went on a 10 mile hike! No wonder he had a relapse...

Grady28 4 years ago

It's been a few weeks since my PE and clots in my arm.  Met with Hemotologist today to review my blood workup.  Tests showed a possible Protein C deficiency with score of 20 (74-151 normal), FactorVIII score 238 (50-150 normal), and Protein S deficiency score 51 (60-145 normal).  Doctor said that the fact I was on warfarin could skew the results so I will need to stay on warfarin for 6 months then off it for 2 weeks and repeat the tests.  My INR today was 2.4.  My DNA test (MTHFR) showed a single mutation (A1298c) but he wasn't concerned.  I have been having some chest tightness and extreme tiredness and asked about switching to brand coumiden but he didn't think that was causing my problem.  Could be my acid reflux?  I asked him about being off blood thinner and having to take a flight or long trip.  He said the best thing to do was take a Lovenox shot a few hours before and one shot daily while away.  Said it would protect me.  I will continue to post on my recovery and test results.  Doc said to get INR tested once monthly now.  Plan to hit the gym tomorrow morning.  -- David (45 yr) Bethesda, Maryland.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

My bloodwork was off while I was on Coumadin. It looked a lot different once I was off of it. If you want to know more about mtfhr or the risk factors with different clotting conditions check here.... Just found this site and has good info

One of my hubs is on traveling. Check it out. It will help you stay clot free. I follow everything on it and so far have been fine. I do not use lovenox unless the flight is longer than 4 hours. Do whatever your dr thinks is best for you.

Also, when traveling, talk to the airlines about disability seating so they can place you in a seat with leg room. Every airline has been great so far. I take powdered Gatorade, by 32 ounces of water before I board, and sit in disability seating. I then am up every hour to 2 hours, move my feet a lot, walk the plane when possible, and elevate my legs.

Best wishes! Glad your genetic tests were all clear!

Jazsko 4 years ago from Australia

Wow! I'm amazed at how many have the same concerns as I've been having, I had minor heart surgery on the 15th of Feb and had come off blood thinners etc before the surgery, told by hospital staff and cardiologist on call that I did not need to go back on them now as my heart was fixed (had Atrial fibrilation) went back to work for one whole day last Thursday and was in hospital that night with chest pain and breathlessness, also had woken up drenched with sweat, not normal. Diagnosis took a little while due to not having the "normal" intense symptoms but sure enough I have a clot in my right lung and am on injections daily with Warfarin tablets to get the INR to the correct level, Home nurse just rang to tell me it's at 2.1 Yay. Of course I have all those same fears, was there another clot that could break off and cause issues, will this go away, will I be able to go back to work sometime soon... all of which have no answer just yet. And I'm home with a 3 yr old on my own most of the time... will I be OK? :-) But I keep pushing down the negatives and holding on to the positive thoughts, keeping aware but hopefully not being paranoid about little pains and twinges etc. It is a big deal, and we do have to keep focussed, but thanks for putting all this information down and keeping it honest. Dr's don't know this stuff coz they've never lived it, they just see the patient every few days or weeks, it's nice to know others have the same fears and concerns, and we will get through it! J

SJE 4 years ago

My latest diagnosis is complex sleep apnea which, if you read the literature, can cause blood clots and A-fib (both of which I have). Next week will be 6 months post diagnosis. I will be having a series of tests to confirm the status of the DVT (the PE is gone) and if there is a genetic component. Am awaiting my BPAP machine. This is a chicken and egg question - were all these issues caused by the PE or the apnea? My cardiologist believes that once the clots are gone, and assuming no genetic component, that I can move to a baby aspirin a day. And further believes that after treatment of the apnea, I can probably go off the heart meds. I am working out daily but not anywhere near 100%. I also believe the meds make you foggy mentally. Having said that I am soooooo much better. This website was a godsend.

Kim 4 years ago

I'm so thankful for this too! I'm barely to the point where I can read about PE without having more panic attacks. I was diagnosed 6 weeks ago, age 23, 4 day hospital stay, extensive bilateral PE. Some docs think it was a mix of my BC plus a 4 hour plane ride but a few others disagree. I'm with the disagreeing camp because I've had 6 other much longer plane flights and 10, 12, and 17 hour car rides all while on BC so I don't know why this one little ride did me in. I came here because I was mostly symptom free for 5 weeks then they suddenly came back 2 days ago, breathing hard again, and I went to the ER but everything came back fine. But i'm struggling like everyone else because I don't know what symptom is a problem and what's just normal. The recovery information really wasn't clear! It said to call right away if symptoms return. I especially don't know what's a problem and what isn't because I had shortness of breath for 2 weeks before I did anything about it. (I'm 23, fit, and in excellent shape, I was cycling almost 100 miles a week before I got too busy with grad school, and I was just plain embarrassed about not being able to breathe). I'm really glad to read about other's recovery. I have to stay on coumadin for a whole year. No blood disorders, they thought maybe lupus anticoagulant but think that the heparin skewed the results so they'll recheck that in a year once i'm off the thinners. I too am also worried about future pregnancies because of the high risk, and I miss all the positive effects of my birth control (no periods--have very severe ones that make me sick, clear skin, healthier hair). I'm glad you all exist! I'm alone out here, only one in my family to ever have something like this. I've met other older adults who have had this but they usually had clear reasons for theirs whereas mine just seems to be a total fluke. Is there a good forum for this anywhere?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Check out the group at daily Also my questions and answers hub has some others listed.

If you are ever unsure about symptoms or if breathing is worse go to the er just like you did. I made two visits after mine. It is the safe thing to do.

Why you had the clot.... Well the bc the flight and who knows what other factors made it the right time. I was on bc and flew many times before mine. The traveling I did was months before my final diagnosis too. Who knows!

Look at my question and answer hub and women's issues hub for great resources on birth control. Many docs feel progesterone alone isn't a risk. Talk to your hematologist and obgyn about the mirena or straight pop pills and make an informed decision. I spoke to mine and my go and an obgyn that writes for a clinical contraception book and all were fine with mirena for me. I will see if I can find and post that clinical site for everyone.

If you can't find what you need on my other hubs let me know. The upper right side of the hubs have an email link for me. Drop me a note and I can email you things.

lfahl 4 years ago

I wrote to you several weeks about having had PEs Feb. 2011. I have had extreme shortness of breathe during the healing process and beyond. My doctor ordered every heart test she could think of--all were negative, thank God. My next step was a pulmonologist. He looked at my ct and did breathing tests and a couple of lung x-rays. The outcome of these tests were also negative--again, Thank God. He told me my lungs were out of shape as is the rest of me because I have been down a long time and ordered me to get on an exercise regimen. The amount of scar tissue in my lungs will resolve so that I should be able to resume a regular life again. I needed to be down for a while but should have been up doing exercises for the last couple of months. My shortness of breath frightened me, but now that I know everything is okay, the shortness of breath will gradually go away. Thanks for this site. Your advice to go to the doctor is invaluable.

Grady28 4 years ago

Update: 1 month ago, i had blood clots in my right arm (a few up high DVTs) which traveled to my lungs. On warfarin and just visited my pulmonologist on Friday. She was shocked I had a DVT and gave me a good overview of what happened and why it will take a few more months to recover. She said the clots that go to your lung are vascular and are different than clots that go to heart and brain. I did a pulmonary breathing test that showed I was getting enough oxygen but that my lung functions were not where they were 2 years ago. I've been treated for asthma in past. She put me on Asmanex Twisthaler 220 mcg (1 puff twice daily) and a rescue inhaler (Xopenex HFA 45 mcg) in case I need it. With regards to CTscans, they can not show every clot. Although I had 2 small ones, there were probably more because the clot generally breaks apart passing into you lung. If it is large and doesn't and blocks entrance into lungs, you probably die. There is a special lung test she plans to do in a month that will tell her if all the clots are gone. With regards to why I had these clots, she said it is important to look for an underlying cancer or genetics cause. She wants me to let my gastronomic doctor know (which coincidently is her husband) and his office is next door. She thinks he should probably do a CT scan of my abdominal area to rule out a hidden cancer. I'm still having some trouble breathing and get exhausted climbing stairs. Im 45 and played HS and college basketball and competitive swimming for 18 years. I'm also 6'5" tall and good weight. Have always been in great shape with good blood pressure and low heart beat 45-50 at rest. I had red that tall folks are more likely to have clots. Anyhow, i hope this information helps someone in some way.

larn1007 4 years ago

I had considered myself a fit and active 42 year old man. I was diagnosed with a PE in my left lung at the beginning of February resulting in a 4 night stay in hospital with various tests including ultrasound, CT and X-ray. Despite all the tests the hospital was unable to ascertain the cause of my PE. I have not been on a long haul flight, had major or indeed any surgery, I have never smoked and all other possible causes explored were negative. I had played indoor 5-a-side soccer, intensive exercise, in five of the eight days prior to the initial pain and did not receive any injuries or knocks that I can recall. The only strange event that I can recall was a very sore ankle that came and went very quickly a week or so before diagnosis. I am now on Warfarin for six months initially and have been referred to a haematologist to try and ascertain cause and the need for future medication. I have never had any previous serious illness and have been totally taken aback by the impact that this has had on my fitness. I have gone from my usual 5/6 to 12 hours plus sleep per night and then sleeping again in the afternoon/evening. I am unable to work as I cannot manage the three and a half hour round trip commute by train and bus. From walking everywhere, playing five-aside three times a week and generally being at an above average level of fitness, two weeks or so into recovery, I can only manage a fifteen to twenty minute walk into town and back each day to buy the daily newspaper. This walk leaves me breathless and fatigued each day. I have come to terms with what has happened and I am determined to put this behind me but the sheer frustration over the slow recovery is the hardest part. The content and posts of this hub and the invaluable information and experiences shared have helped me to realise that I literally cannot run before I can walk and that I need to be patient through recovery. For this I’d like to thank all contributors and particularly the hub author for giving us all this medium to share our stories.

Kash 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this.. Kash here from London.. I'm sitting right next to my wife who has been diagnosed with PE.. I have been researching all day long for a straight forward answer for this and came across this.. Thank you for sharing this with us.. It has made me understand this and prepared me for the future.. I pray to Allah for your health.. Thank you once again

tj 4 years ago

You will return to your regular active state. It takes time but will happen. Even if they keep you on warafin you can do it. It's been over a year for me now. Last week I started getting intense pain in my left leg and calve. Ignored it for awhile as I tried to read my body having fibromyalgia and nueropathy. plus I'm on the blood thinner. Finally went to the doc who thought i was okay but sent me for a sonogram to be sure. Well there was no blood clot so now I can relax when I get that particular type of pain but it can be frustrating as you are always a bit on guard.

Anirban 4 years ago

Hi -

My sister was diagnosed with Clots on her left leg last August. Soon, in about 7 days while under warfarin treatment a small clot broke off from her leg to her lungs. Once morning when she woke up she had tightness in the chest and heavy breathing. We immediately called ER. By the time ER came my sister was feeling normal again. ER did the vital checks and found everything normal. However we did not want to take any chance and rushed to the ER. The ER doctors looked her vitals up and were confident that its not PE but went for the CTscan anyway. When the results came back they said that they found 2 small clots on both lungs. She was admitted and put on warfarin and close monitoring. All this while my sister had no problems breathing or pain in the chest. While in the hospital for 5 days, her ultrasound for her legs came back clean (her clots had dissolved by then). She came back from the hospital after 5 days and thus began the long wait to get off warfarin. Since I was taking care of her for 6 months I noticed the following side effects with coumodin -

- Fatigue

- shortness of breath doing regular tasks

- brief moments of confusion.

- lethargy

Due to shortness of breath, we took her to ER twice but they all appeared false alarms. Probably a warfarin side effect.

She was on warfarin for 6 months. She came off on January of 2012. So far she is feeling better and getting back to the walks of life. However there is one issue that scares us and has happened twice since she has been off coumodin -

- All of a sudden, shortness of breath, chest pain and heart beat. It goes away after 20 mins of rest. This was happend twice in the past 2 months. I wonder if this is a Post PE affect. Otherwise she is doing much much better with no signs of the earlier symptoms. She was noticed that the 2 times she had these shortness of breath and chest pain issues were when she had done some cooking (and hence the smoke) or when she had laughed too much in a single day.

She has done her blood work reviewed by her hematologist and everything came back clean. She had the leg clot due to any injury although the birth controls she was on could have contributed.

She is going to sync up with a pulmonary specialist to see why those short "panic" attacks happened.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

You mention panic attacks in quotes. I love that you are getting the pulmonologist involved. Great thinking. It may be that she is having true panic attacks. My shortness of breath post pe was finally diagnosed as vocal chord dysfunction after a second pulmonologist looked at me. There are many reasons that may happen that you can consider. If you don't get answers from the first doctor, ask for another. You are being proactive and informed, I love it!

Grady28 4 years ago

4-5 weeks ago I had my PE with blood clots to my arm. Have been on warfarin (10, 10 then 7.5 then 10, 10 repeat). INR tested Yesterday and was 3.3. My gastro doc felt I needed to get a colonoscopy and I have one scheduled in 2 days. At first he said he just wanted to look and that I could stay on warfarin. However, when I talked to him yesterday afternoon, he told me not to take it today and tomorrow. Hematologist said I should be off it for 3 days. Anyhow, for the past few days, I've had trouble catching breath with chest/throat pain, tightness and cough. Feels like I may be coming down with something. Spring has come early to Washington, DC so could be allergies. I also take 10 mg Lexapro for anxiety. Has anyone else had a colonoscopy while on warfarin? I'm a bit nervous and the chest tightness is of concern to me. I'm also worried about not being protected for next 2 days while off warfarin.

poshpadz profile image

poshpadz 4 years ago from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Hi Grady,

Cant comment on the colonoscopy, however can on the Warfarin issue. When I was suffering serious side effects from Warfarin a few weeks back you will remember my blog about changing to Lovenox.

I have now been off of Warfarin for close to 3 weeks and WOW what a change!!

I too was very concerned about being off Warfarin prior to changing to Lovenox as I decided that I would not take the Warfarin anymore as it was seriously making me much worse healthwise. I could not get in to see my new hemotologist for a couple of days after I made this drastic decision so I was worried.

He said not too worry as Warfain will stay in your blood system for at least 5 to 8 days after you stop taking it so I would still be covered. This was a relief:)

I stayed off of all blood thinners for 5 days prior to starting the Lovenox and had terrible chest pains and extreme fatigue for the whole time.

My body was still filled with the stuff and I was detoxing in a way. Even after I started on the Lovenox I still had about 4 or 5 more days where I did not feel too well, still had the chest pains, body aches and fatigue from the Warfarin still being leftover in my system.

I can honestly say that now a couple weeks have past and so has all the horrible side effects caused by the Warfarin:)

Lovenox has been a godsend! It has made such a difference in my recovery. No more chest pains & much more energy.

I cant believe that doctors are still putting people on is a horrible medication. Especially when you could have something that does the same thing but without all the side effects.

Sorry to get off your subject but I just get so annoyed when I continually read comments from others who are also on Warfarin who all seem to be suffering unnecessarily from side effect of the drug.

Only down side of Lovenox is that you must give yourself daily injection in abdomen / flank area and it is more expensive that Warfarin. Fortunately my insurance covers this medication but it will depend on each persons insurance coverage of course.

Grady you will not need to worry about being off the drug for a few days as it will definitely stay in your system for a while.

All the best to you, and good luck.

Kaylyn....from Florida

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

There used to be a pharmacist who had a warfarin info page online. He took it down when he retired. He said you did have to be off of blood thinners and recommended finding an alternate means. Ask your gastro about the virtual colonoscopy. If it will show him what he needs and will be covered it is much safer for you. Also, ask if the colonoscopy can wait a few months. If it can't, you then want to talk to your hemotologist about using lovenox as "bridge therapy" before and after the colonoscopy do you can have full coverage closer to the test. I wish that page was still up as I am going from memory and not a doctor, but those are some ideas for you.

vetracer119 profile image

vetracer119 4 years ago from Tucson, Az.

I was in the hospital from 10/28/2011 to 11/03/2011 with blood clots in both lungs. That was the scariest thing I ever went thru, when you cant catch your breath, I went into panick attacks. The hospital told me I was hours away from death. I still get winded even when I talk, I am always tired. I was told I also suffered heart damage. After I came home I had to give myself 4 shots a day in my stomach of Lovenox and I still take 6m.g. of Coumadin daily. I am fighting for disabilty for this and other conditions that cause me to be sedintary.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Exciting news!!! New Hub for all of you. This one focusses on recovery tips. It shares many of the things that have been mentioned over and over again in these comments. Thank you all!!!

Grady 28 4 years ago

Thank you so much for the new hub. This page and hearing from others has been a godsend. Thanks!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

If you need more thoughts and support check out some of the support groups that are online. The link above for my new hub has a full list at the bottom of the article. Thanks for reading and happy healing!

Grady28 4 years ago

Kaylin - After not feeling well over the past week or two, I complained to my doctor and he has agreed to let me try Lovenox for the next month. I have been having chest tightness and I was thinking it was the warfarin. I may be experiencing some chest wall pain (costochondritis) and one of the benefits of Lovenox is it can also help with inflammation. I will be taking my first dose tomorrow (I weigh 220 so doc has me set for 150 mg shots) and I should know more in a week. The other benefit is I won't need INR testing. Thanks, David

mondaymom 4 years ago

I had a PE at the end of October. Since then, I have been on warfarin and was told I will probably be a "lifer" because my genetic tests showed I have Factor V, homozygous type. Also since then, I changed my Dr. to a Dr. that actually took time with me and answered my questions!! I have been slowly but surely getting my energy back. The fear of whether a pain in my chest is from another PE or cramping in my legs is another DVT still continues to haunt me. Right now, I have a pretty sore left calf. Yesterday I did more walking than I have done in a while and my leg, from toe to thigh, cramped up SO BAD! Today, my calf is still so very sore and my thoughts keep going to is it just from the walking or could I have a DVT? I was due to have my INR checked last Thursday but had to reschedule it to next Tuesday and it has been a month so I don't really know where I am at. I have not been able to get my INR lever regulated yet. My next issue is whether or not to have lithotripsy for kidney stone done the first week of April. I have been having pain that comes and goes from that for quite some time. Had lithotripsy done last April, but it didn't get rid of all the stone. That was before I was on Warfarin. The urologist told me Friday that he would be contacting my other Dr. to find out if I can go off warfarin to have this procedure done. That kinda scares me. He is supposed to let me know tomorrow the answer that he got. I am torn between the fear of going off warfarin and the risk of getting a clot again - especially after all the bruising I got after the last lithotripsy, or just trying to deal with the pain of the kidney stone (which is no small thing either!) -- Has anyone else had lithotripsy done since they have had PE/DVT? Anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks! Patty

TheOldDad 4 years ago

RE: Real vs Virtual Colonoscopy.

The only downside to doing a virtual cscopy is that if "exciting" polyps are found, then you need to do a real cscopy to get them so another round of roto-rooter flush and appt. I have another cscopy this Friday so no drugs after Tuesday. I have LFV and I don't stress over it. I'm not planning on any long airplane rides or injuries in the next five days so I don't think it's a big deal.

Dlenhart 4 years ago

Thanks so much for your information. I had a bilateral PE and a DVT in my right leg about 6 weeks ago. It's so hard to find information about recovery. My doctor is pretty vague. It's a relief to hear that my fatigue is 'normal' and also that illnesses might be more severe, because that is what I am experiencing. I am going to check out your new hub next. Thanks again.

Yvonne Shaw 4 years ago

Thank you for writing this, this maybe a clue to what is going on with me. I was diagnosised with a PE in 2008. And seem to be fine for a while, now it seems I have the same symptoms,but they have not found any new clots, is it possible that I have some kind of heart damage? I am not getting any answers from the doctor and am I feel being blown off. I have the same kind of symptoms fatigue,weakness,short of breath, kind of crushing or dull ache it seems on the left side by my ribs. I was on the comadin for quite a while, (for about 2 yrs) and am now off. Again thank you for writing this and I hope you can write back and give me your ideas. Thank You and Best Wishes

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author


Have you had an ultrasound of your heart? Also, I might ask if there can be scar tissue in your lungs. I bet that is possible knowing how the human body is.

I would talk to a doc with those questions and then consider doing some yoga or something with breath work to recondition yourself. Lungs can rebuild with work. How much damage or how many clots did you have?

You may wish to go to daily strength and ask questions there. Thanks for stopping by!

Yvonne Shaw 4 years ago

I did have an ultrasound of the heart and it was fine, not sure of how many clots I had, the doctor stated there was one known one in the lung, but he said if there was one there is likely more. I do have asthma and scar tissue in my lungs from pneumonia a few yrs back, and I also had a ekg that was abnormal but when was taking a few weeks later it was fine. Thank you for responding so quickly and thanks for this blog.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

A clean ultrasound is great news. If you have a questionable EKG you can have a monitor on you for 24 hours that will record an EKG for the entire time.

I have heard that scar tissue can cause some of your symptoms. It would make sense I guess. Think about scars on skin. They aren't like regular skin, it isn't as flexible, and sometimes scars are über sensitive to touch. If that is true with lungs you may have an explanation.

I know that I worked with a speech language therapist after my pe due to a diagnosis of vocal chord dysfunction. Relaxing my breathing helped so much. It helped me to panic less when my VCD was acting up and relax my lungs so air could get in there.

My gut is you are fine but keep asking docs until you feel happy with what you know. Your history of asthmas and pneumonia likely mean your body has more to heal from as you are stacking problems. Some type of breathing exercises may be useful in expanding your lungs and relaxing your bronchi so air can get in and stop feeling so irritating.

Best wishes and keep fighting for answers!

Grady28 4 years ago

Lwelch - I had my PE February 3 2012. I switched from warfarin to Lovenox a few weeks ago cause I seemed to be having chest pain with the warfarin. I now give myself a shot each night of 150 mg generic Lovenox. 3 questions, Should someone on long term Lovenox get any periodic blood tests and (if so) which tests? My dosage (according to my doc) was 150 mg based on my weight (220 lbs). How is that determined...what formula? Finally, I had my triglyceride checked and it was high (360 or so). It has never been high before and I'm wondering if the Lovenox could have caused the high level? Thanks again for the site. It really has helped me know what to ask and what to expect with recovery. David (Bethesda, Maryland USA)

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Hi David,

Thanks for reading. Before I answer, I will put my standard disclaimer that I am not a pharmacist or doctor, just a patient. That being said, I know some good resources for your answers. The prescribing information for Lovenox is at This information includes the dosing. It notes that for Inpatient treatment of acute DVT with or without pulmonary embolism (it doesn't seem to have one for outpatient treatment of pulmonary embolism so this is the closest I can get for your answer) the dose is either 1 mg/kg twice daily or 1.5 mg/kg once daily. I am guessing this is the formula that was used to get your dose. I believe that you also have to look at the concentration of the Lovenox in your injection. I am fairly certain it comes in different concentrations. This would have been calculated in with the formula that I gave you above. The prefilled syringes (if that is what you have) only come in a limited variety of concentrations and mg. Your doctor would pick the one that is best suited for you. Your pharmacist would be able to do a better job explaining. I would give them a call and see what you learn. Let us know what you find out on that.

As for testing, the benefit of Lovenox is that frequent monitoring is not needed to determine dose. This is a big benefit over warfarin or heparin. I have a good description of the different anticoagulants at The Lovenox site recommends periodic complete blood counts, including platelet count, and stool occult blood tests to make sure that you aren't having any side effects from the medication that may be life threatening. (see

I read through the full prescribing information and I see no triglycerides in the adverse effects ( That being said, some people's body's have idiosyncratic reactions to drugs that not many other people have. I found this site It mentions that just under 1% of people who self reported had an increase in triglycerides. The bad thing is that site is not evidence based and therefore isn't very reliable. But, if you feel that may be why - it may be. I had my reflux meds help my migraines - in most people they make migraines worse. Go figure!

Not many people use Lovenox long term due to the cost and the fact that it is an injection. Some people can't tolerate warfarin and do use Lovenox long term. I can't find any lierature about long term side effects though. The population is likely too small to have answers for you. This university site does have suggested tests for long term users

You have a lot of great questions! Have you gotten a hematologist for yourself? If you haven't, round one up. They know a lot about anticoagulation therapy and will be a lot better at answering questions for you. If you have one already, take my comments to him or her and see what you learn. I would love to find out how well I did with my answer :)

Thanks for reading!


hopefull one 4 years ago

Hi i just wanted to share my story, i was rushed to hospital with a pe around 10 months ago, and thankfully found this site (if you nlook very carefully you will see some of my posts on here)

I was terrified first of all but Lena certainly helped calm me down at least as much as she could. I always worried that there were lots of posts from people going through what i was but few if any from people who had come out of the other side, thats what i would like to do today.

I, like many of you, feared the worst when i was told i had a massive pe in my left lung, having left hospital after 10 days my mood slowly dropped and i was soon depressed and a nervous wreck-too scared to close my eyes at night incase i didnt wake up even!

Lena told me, quite rightly, that i had been through the worst and it was now time to rest and recover while trying to remain calm. It seems hard to believe at the time but it is completely right.

It is a long hard road and its certainly not easy but you WILL get there, i am living proof of this, please try not to worry to the extent that i did, you are now on your initial steps to getting better.

If i have made at least one of you feel a little calmer then i have achieved my goal in writting this. I know just how hard it can be which is why i would also like to say thankyou Lena, without this web page i dont know how i would have got through things-you really did help me. I now look forward to making the most of my life! god bless.


Joan Reilley 4 years ago

I can't thank you enough for this informaiton, it has been a year since i was told that i had 2PE's one in each lung and then after i go home from the hospial i had another piece brake off and enter in my left lung ended up in ICU for 13 days had a filter put in and the new clot was blasted. I to this day do not feel well and dont understand that a blood clot can do this much harm to ones body. Every pain i feel I wonder but i dont want my dr to think i am just making this up even my back end hurts while i am sitting i ace all over most of the time. Is this ever going to stop i just want to feel like i did before this all happend.

sixt9ers 4 years ago

well i'm going into my 4th month dealing with Bilateral PE and dealing with the same issues as most,i want to know if anyone is disable because of this problem,or does it get better after time,because i'm still taking just as much pain meds as i was in January,it seems as some days are better than others,but i also feel there no end to this,i was going to the gym 4-5 days a week,and i just recently started to exercise again and it feels ok while i'm doing cardio at the gym,but will have really bad pain sitting on the couch.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Hi Sixt9er!

4th month out is rough! You are getting to the point where you are well enough to know you are sick and far along enough that you are done being sick! Yes, it does get better. Anytime you are sick it will set you back some, but most people who have no heart damage seem to be better in about a year. I had some nasty infections and colds while getting well and it set me back to close to two years. The one day I went to work and it was spring and I realized I could breathe! I hate running - always have, but that day I sprinted down the parking lot because I was so happy and thankful!

I don't know tips for the pain as I never had any. I understand it is from lung tissue death and subsequent scar tissue. My gramma survived surgery for lung cancer and got on with it and I just kept that in mind as I waited to heal. I am so happy that you are exercising again. That will help to work out your healing lungs.

Maybe some people here or at (the pe support group) will have some tips for the lung pain.

I am so happy that you are here and that you are also here on my hub. If I can do anything, let me know!

sixt9ers 4 years ago

thank you for your advice as i have been reading all along,i do get get depressed,and emotional at times,but i am thankful,and i know there are people on this hub that were-are,worse than i was so that is my motivation,i'm trying to return back to work next month,but i know i have to be off the pain meds that i'm taking,as i work in a prison and have to be alert and sound of my surroundings,i'm exercising a couple times a week just trying to regain some strength,and stamina,at times i feel like i'm healing nice,then i'll have some pain that reminds me that i'm not.i also know that were so lucky to be alive,and i use that as a emotional jump start,i'm not a big religious,guy but i do know that Gods doesnt save everybody,so there's something else he needs me to do,i might not ever find out what it is,so i'll keep on churning away.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I would ask a pharmacist or your doctor about alternate pain management plans. Maybe there is something that won't sedate you that will work. If you have counseling available to you through work or health insurance I recommend it, it really helped me. Don't ever think oh people are worse off. You are a mess and that is all right! You can be thankful you aren't more of a mess but don't write off what you went though. By statistics and that you had bilateral clots... you should be dead. That in itself is a lot to get through. I had a hard time wrapping my brain around why I was alive, for exactly what you said. I am at peace with being saved now and the restlessness that comes from being saved but having no purpose is gone. Keep at it, and definitely ask about pain meds that are available. Oh, another idea... go to the meditation podcast and get some meditation on pain management or any of the others. I find that to be helpful as well.

Nicky 4 years ago

Hi just reading everyone's comments , I had a PE 3 months after the birth of my son in feb 2010, had 9 months of treatment , the PE was put down to pregnancy related issues !!! Felt relieved that all was sort of normal again then sept last year started having panic attacks thinking I was going to drop dead for some reason it has taken all this time to get to me I feel like a freak , I should be gratefull I'm still here but can't get it out of my head , getting more positive but like some of you have said every pain and twinge scares me :(

Joan Reilley 4 years ago

Its been a year this month since i found out i had 3 PE's and 2DVT's i can not take warfarin was on lovenox was then taken off that and put on Arixtra (injection) then taken off that and put on Xarlto i have been so depressed over this all and wondering if it will go away i now have since stop the Xarlto and back on Arixtra due to really bad joint pain. I swim one hour each day and i still fell like my weight is 300 tons and oh so tired i thought that swimming would help me. I do have a option filter in and wonder if i can stop the meds becasue of this does anyone else have the filter and are off the meds. My legs itch all the time not sure what that is from and my left legs feels tight like before but not sure if its another clot. I don't want to be a pest to my doctors. However one becomes very scared when you dont feel well always wondering will i get more clots becasue my were very large and so many and yet no one can tell me how i got them. Does anyone know if after having PE and DVT and we fly I would like to go on vacation and maybe get better. Just really tried of being sick

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Read my hub on flying. I wrote one a few weeks ago on flying after pe. I have been on many planes since mine.

If you can't find anyone with a filter, ask at daily in the pe support group. They are an active group.

JulieC 4 years ago

I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your article. I'm 3 weeks post partum and at day 5 i ended up in the ER with chest tightness and troubles breathing. Lo and behold after multiple tests (and beign sent home giving the all clear) i was called back to the ER saying the radiologist had relooked at my CT scan and found a PE afterall. I was hospitalized for 36 hours on heparin and sent home with tinzaparin and warfarin. Now 2 weeks later I'm still scared not only for me but my 3 week old baby too.

I'm still getting shortness of breath and chest tightness ocassionally and it scared the life out of me. Having a Dr's apointment tomorrow to followup on how things have been and so grateful to have come across your article and link to "what questions to ask" I found the Dr's in hospital was very vauge with me when myself or husband would ask about the clot.

I am worried of the possability of it splitting causing another or if there is a clot still there somewhere that will dislodge.

Not anything I was expecting to experience after having my baby thats for sure. So glad to see that this is still a running article and that you are still checking yoru comments and repling. :)

I can't wait to start feeling "better" and let go of some of my fears...

Natalie 4 years ago

Thank you for this extremely helpful information. It has been 3 weeks now since my husband raced me to emergency with my complaints of extreme chest pain & shortness of breath. The doctors couldn't even lay me down because the pain was worsened when ever I tried. After some excruciatingly painfull tests my doctor told me that I had roughly 6 PE in my lungs, a partial collapsed lung & fluid surrounding it. I've never felt anything more painful in my life. I stayed in hospital for 7 days & had to have my 10 week old daughter stay with me as she is breastfed, however the first couple of days she wasn't allowed due to my state & the morphine they had me on. Since returning home I get extremely frustrated with myself as it is hard to do the things I used to. I'm just glad for this site & my husbands fantastic help & understandIng. Yes the severity of my condition has sunk in & it scares me everyday however I am learning to take things a day at a time & try to make the most of every situation. I have also found that my eyes are open & I've a new appreciation for everything & everyone.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I am glad that you found me and that your baby and husband have been blessed with your body's strength! Congratulations on the little one. If you have any questions about talking to docs let me know. You can contact me by a button in the upper left hand corner. I can't get that email until I am back in town on Saturday but I reply to anyone who needs support. The big thing to talk about will be length of anticoagulation therapy. Pregnancy likely caused the clots but you should think over family history of clots or miscarriages. That will help you determine your risk of clotting again. You very well may be able to skip testing for thrombophilia or clotting conditions. Best wishes and many thanks!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I am so glad that she was able to stay with you. Hospitals have come such a long way. The good news is the pregnancy may be your biggest clotting risk. There is a good chance that you will be on a shorter course of blood thinners than I was. Think about family history or clots and miscarriages and discuss that with you doctor. Those facts will help you to decide if you want further testing. You did have a lot of clots so that will likely impact length of anticoagulation and further blood work. I would really ask about that when you talk to a doctor. The size and number of clots had my hemotologist keep me anticoagulated for a year. If you have any questions send me a note through the link on hubpages. You may want to check out my page on women and factor v Leiden. You don't need the full article but there is a link at the bottom for a pregnancy clot support group that will likely have mothers in similar scenarios.

I know you are scared but keep this in mind... You had multiple clots that should have killed you. Your body was amazingly strong and healthy and it kept you alive. If you ever doubted your own strength and vitality, don't. You have power that you never knew about!

Natalie 4 years ago

Thankypu for your kind words. I'm currently on warfarin & I have to see my doctor every 2-3 days to check my INR levels. I see the specialist in 3 months. Both my mum & sister have Protein S Deficiency but not sure if I do or not. So I guess I'm at higher risk because of the clotting disorder in the family. Both that & having the baby. I just don't understand why my pregnancy doctor didn't take precautions in treating me when there is a family history? I guess it's possible that because I have 2 other children before with no complications he didn't feel that I was at risk.

Joan Reilley 4 years ago

anyone taking Xareito and having any problems with it, I am all my joints are very sore hard to walk and even sit i know its a new drug and not is know much about it. Any help is greatful.


Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I bet you are right on. You had two safe pregnancies so i bet that you are right in what he was thinking. I don't know what the genetics look like with protein s or what percent get clots but with your history and family history it does seem you are at a higher risk. Did mom or sister ever clot? They can test you for it once you are off of anticoagulation. Not sure if there is a genetic test as well. I have a page with blurbs about different thrombophilias I may have the answer to that there. Let us know what you learn and I will post some links for you.

Okay here is a great link:

Natalie 4 years ago

Yes both mum & sister have suffered from clots. I have looked up a little about Protein S & there is a 50/ 50 chance of it passing down through the family line. The doctor has already said that once I'm off the Warfarin they will test me for Protein S aswell as its brother Protein C because of the families history. It is just a specialized blood test that will take a few weeks to get the results back. I have asked about testing my children also but the doctor would prefer not to unless it is really necessary. I think I'll wait till after I'm tested before making the final decision about my children being checked.

Erica & Mike 4 years ago

Has anyone suffered from Vertigo during their PE recovery? That is my husband's most recent diagnosis. Vertigo and Optic Neuritis. Going for an MRA of the brain, an MRI of the head and an MRA of the neck to rule out possibility of clots in the brain... Almost 9 months into recovery and wondering if this is ever going to end, or if this is just the "new normal".

JulieC 4 years ago

Natalie - if you get this message, just wondering how are you feeling on a day to day sort of bases and if you are getting light headed or have had extended postpartum bleeding due to the medication? I'm 4wks PP today and started treatment 3weeks yesterday. I dont go into see my dr until wednesday again and have an INR tomorrow morning. Have the dr's given you an approximate lenght of time you will be on the blood thinners? (Sorry for the whack of questions if you wish to email me plz do. Thanks!

Side question to anyone - while getting your INR levels checked have you ever had issues with them drawing blood or after a blood draw a couple days later still have soreness/tingling in the inside of elbow and almost a coldness feeling around the draw site?

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Natalie -

I have been thinking about your reply. I would ask to be tested for the full panel of clotting conditions. Here is why... You have a family as well as personal history of clotting. There is a good chance you have the Protein S gene. If you have it and another clotting condition it raises your chances further of another PE. At some point you will be off of anticoagulation. When this happens you will be deciding how you want to handle anticoagulation in the future. I had the full panel of tests and only tested positive for FVL. I chose to go off of warfarin, but had I had any additional clotting conditions I think I may have made a different choice.

For your kiddos. My parents didn't get tested after my FVL diagnoses yet one of them has to be positive. We know the signs and symptoms of a clot and can now proactively take anti-clotting measures if anything comes up. Your kids can be taught the same thing. Also, any of your daughters can be told the risks of estrogen early on. In other words, treat them like they have the protein S even if they don't. The recommendations to prevent clots apply to all of us with or without clotting problems. Many people have clots with no conditions that are ever found. With FVL 90% of us never clot. You kiddos may never clot. If they do, they will know how to handle it. They can then decide as a grown up. In the USA, there is a genetics law (GINA) that states that jobs and health insurance can't discriminate by genetics but life insurance still can. That test can label someone who may never have a single problem.

Erica & Mike -

I feel like I have heard your question before at Daily Strength. I would go there and ask. After I was out of the hospital I had very few venous blood draws as my doctor used a point of care machine for warfarin. I bet what you notice is common though. There are nerves in out skin and when they get damaged you loose sensation. I would still ask a doctor about it though to make sure nothing odd is happening.

Happy to Still Be Here 4 years ago

I am 5 mos out today from my ideopathic PE. My question is about ongoing "discomfort", sometimes rising to pain, in my right back ribcage area (same place of extreme pain during the PE event). It has never gone away. Do others have this? My hemotologist says that is a common complaint during recovery, but it should be gone by now. So he ran a repeat CT scan yesterday, so I should have some news on the comparison to the original soon.

I am now 56, had no risk factors, all blood work that can be done while on warfarin has been done, came back negative. My recovery week-over-week for the first 6 weeks was pretty remarkable, but then I reached a plateau where I feel I am at about 90plus % recovered. I have done some fairly good bike rides (18 miles round trip, elevation change around 1100 feet), with no breathing problems, but I am wiped out for days afterwards.

The right back ribcage discomfort results in my sleeping on my left side; I do not get good sleep. Tylonal does NOTHING for me, and I refuse to start taking vicodan. I will likely be on warfarin the rest of my life, and hopefully that is a long time!

To all those who post here; thanks for sharing, and remember we all have something in common.... we are all still here!

Neil 4 years ago

Hi thanks for the article, I'm 25 and and was diagnosed 4 months ago with multiple blood clots in my lungs. I'm on warfarin for life which sucks. I would say I'm back to full fitness playing loads of sports. initially i was extremely fatigued but feel much better now. I have to say though that there is a lot psychologically that has to be considered when something like this happens. I found it tough as i had to make make a lot of lifestyle changes. I have come to terms with it now and it does get easier. I only have to get my bloods done once a month which isn't to bad. But i did have to stop drinking!!

It seems iam one of the youngest people here??

Does anybody think it is excessive for me to be condemned to warfarin for like considering i had multiple PE's? I had genetics test and every other test i can think of to try determine why i developed them. Still no answer my Haematologist

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

You are not alone. I was 32 when I had my clots. I was on combined oral contraceptives and had a lot travel time in the months before mine. I really think that contributed. I was tested for blood clotting conditions and they found Factor V Leiden. Despite the FVL, my hematologist felt it was an acceptable risk to go off of warfarin as long as I avoided other controllable risks (I am not on the oral contraceptives now and am very careful when traveling). I was given the option to stay on warfarin and have a much lower clot risk or go off of it. I went off. So far three years out I am good. I would make sure that you fully understand your risks on staying on and off. Make sure you understand why your hematologist recommends staying on for life. You want it to be your choice as well as his or hers. It helps to feel in control and asking questions is one of the best ways to do that.

SJE 4 years ago

Seven months post PE and DVT. Clots are gone and my genetic test just came negative for all. I am over the moon. But I'm still fatigued, better than I was and gaining strength daily. My sleep apnea is almost under control and I am working on loosing the weight I gained. Like others I still have a bit of residual pressure in the left ribcage. My goal is to have all of the above dealt with by my one year anniversary on 9/11. Biggest thing I have learned? It is ok to ask for help. And this site was a godsend. Thank you everyone.

Mo 4 years ago

So glad to see there is support for these conditions, I suffered from massive PE 6 years ago at age 20 and a DVT which spanned from my ankle to my stomach.It was caused because I have a protein C deficiency which was not tested for before they gave me the contraceptive pill to stabilise irregular bleeding. I received what can only be described as abuse from medical staff which, despite being hooked up to machines and having a leg the size of an elephant, didn't believe there was anything wrong with me, held back morphine and overdosed me on pain killers I was allergic to. I was released from hospital on warfarin but my INR never stabilised. I was told I had to pay for the medication which was keeping me alive and when the 'time limit' for treatment expired I was sat down, told I would never have children and refused any more prescriptions for blood thinners. Since then my doctors have ignored me when I have come to them with leg pains and difficulty breathing, and even suggested that I am making it up for attention!! I would love to know how you can make your leg swell just with the power of your mind!! I really hope that the medical profession start listening to sufferers and treat blood clotting conditions seriously. Aside from poor treatment in hospital, the effect of the abuse received at the hands of 'medical professionals' during recovery has spiralled me into depression and has almost made me believe that I don't deserve treatment as that is the attitude I have received. I truly hope that no one else has to suffer the same treatment but if they do, thank God for forums so you don't have to be alone

Mark 4 years ago

LWelch: Thank you so much for posting this resource! It's the best out there, IMHO. I was released yesterday after 8 days hospitalization with massive bi-lateral PE, and multiple clotting sites found in both legs. I have so many questions about what the future may hold - questions my physician was ill-prepared to answer, maybe because he couldn't - somethings I'll just have to find out for my own. But, the information you've posted here answered many of the questions I've been thinking about over the last week. Your info is well-presented and spot-on accurate. I found myself constantly nodding my head when comparing my symptoms, hospitalization course, testing, drugs (Lovenox and Coumadin, continuing at home), etc... with those you reported, and found your presentation comforting. Knowing I had many of the same questions you had, plus so many of the fellow patients who have left comments, at least makes me feel I'm not wrong to have so many questions. I'll keep coming back to this site again and again, as I begin my journey one week post-PE, toward my own one year anniversary. My only other thought at the moment was to express my concern and care for all fellow patients/posters who are going through this journey without health insurance. Many of the commenters must be in that boat, and I don't know what they're gonna do. I just found out the price of Lovenox yesterday, and was astonished. I am fortunate in so many ways, and do carry full-coverage health insurance, but so many others with this life-altering diagnosis don't. That's not fair for them.

Please continue to update your site when new info is found! Feeling lucky to be alive here...and most grateful for your resource. Thank you, and best wishes in your continued recovery.

Orla 4 years ago

I can't believe after all my research into PE's and Im only finding this article now! I'm currently over 4 months (nearly 5 months)since I was diagnosed with multiple PE's. I turned 19 in March but was 18 when I was diagnosed. It was probably one of the scariest moments in my life when I was told I had multiple clots. The way the doctor said it, I was pretty sure he was going to say there was nothing he could do for me. It was terrifying.

After numerous tests my doctor came to the conclusion that the birth control I was on had to have caused my clots. All my other tests came back completely healthy which was a relief.

But now I'm coming off the Warfarin in a weeks time and I absolutely cant wait! I'm currently in 2nd year of college and I work part time as a waitress. I got the clots just before Christmas which meant I had to deal with exams on top of the illness.

This has been such a surreal experience and it was great reading your article. Gives me a great indication of what Im to expect for the next few years. Although I have to admit, its a bit crushing to find that people still aren't feeling back to full health even a year after their diagnosis but I suppose it's just something that I'm going to have to get used to.

I think when I can start drinking again, I'll feel more normal. Im sure you can imagine, being a college student and not being allowed to drink alcohol while on Warfarin has really been a challenge but I am proud to be able to say that not a single drop of alcohol has passed my lips since I got my diagnosis. I'm from Ireland btw which means it's legal to drink at the age of 18, incase any Americans are surprised to hear of a 19 year old missing alcohol :P

Anyway, thank you so much for this article. It was very interesting to read about someone elses experience!

Good Luck with your recovery :)

ldowd 4 years ago

I was diagnosed in march with a large central pulmonary embolism. this was a total shock as i run about 20 miles every week and am in the gym 5-6 times a week, i am a fitness fanatic. I have no history of blood clots, or surgery but doctor suggested that by P.E was linked to the contraceptive pill as i am now 37 years old. im trying to find out what impact doing exercise will have. im terrified that starting to do exercise will dislodge the clot and move it elsewhere?? is this possible? again, i dont know if exercise will aid my recovery or only pro long my recovery. i constantly feel like someone is sitting on my chest. any advice?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I was told that the lungs are pretty much the end of the line for clots... And the most dangerous. Ask you dr if there might be any more clots in your legs or elsewhere. My bet is you are fine. Exercise in moderation will help you to rebuild endurance once your doctor has cleared it.

Trisa 4 years ago

I am in the hospital now reading this. I had a PE last month and I am back in the hospital with another blood clot because I developed something called HIT Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia. basically my body made anitbodies that attached themselves to my platelets causing a blood clot. This is very uncommon and somewhat like an allergic reation. I have been in the hospital now 10 days and my Inr has been at a theraputic level for two days so I am supposed togo home today! I am glad I found this blog because I have had a slow time recovering and this helps me know that it is normal. I also have MS so I cant always tell what the leg cramps are from. LOL! what are you going to do? thank you for sharing.

Gulfman 4 years ago

On February 8, 2012, I was conducting a tour 50 miles into the Everglades when I suddenly developed shortness of breath and chest pain. I was taken via ambulance with an EMT and a Paramedic to the hospital which was fifty miles away. I had no preliminary symptoms. When I reached the ER, I was given a chest x-ray, a CAT scan, an EKG, an EEG, plus lots of bloodwork. I arrived in tachycardia. After these tests were completed, the ER doctor stated that I had a pulmonary saddle embolism as large as his head. The doctors in the ER stated that I was a very lucky person to be alive with a saddle embolism. I was taken to surgery at 10:45 p.m., so that a vascular surgeon could insert an IVC (Tulip) into my right femoral artery. I was given clot busting drugs via I.V. and then abdominally, plus coumadin for eight days until I was released. I am still on coumadin and I still have shortness of breath and some tightness on the upper right side of my chest. I have done some research and I have come to the conclusion that the drug Kenalog caused my saddle embolism. I was given three epidurals for back pain within two weeks of each injection. Kenalog has been noted to casue thromboembolisms. I am still investigating this and are recovering. There is information out there on many attorney's websites; however, they will not take any cases unless there is permanent damage or death.

David 4 years ago

Thanks to all of you for posting your stories. It makes me feel like I am not alone. I'm 65. I was a stud up until 2 months ago when I had my PE. I was a surfer, golfer, weight lifter, business owner with amazing stamina for my age. Now I feel I have have gone from stud to dud in about 48 hours. All of my experiences are mirrored here, but the after affect to my psyche were what were bothering me. I felt i was alone in this cylinder of weakness, fatigue, sickeness. Now I know that it is typical for a post PE event. I have been lobbying my Dr to get me off coumadin and put me on asprein regimin with fish oil and tumeric ( which I have read about).He always shakes his head and says " we'll see". I guess I havent accepted yet that this isn't just episodic it is systemic and that I have to learn to live with it. Still that is not comofrting but at least a dose of the reality that I never got from anyone else that tells me what my future life looks like.

Thanks again everyone.If you want to chat about this

email me at


Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Hi David,

You might want to read more of my hubs. A number of them talk about aspirin vs warfarin. There is a huge difference between the two. Aspirin works on platelets. Warfarin works on the stuff that glues platelets together. Vein clots like a pe are typically formed by the glue. This is why you are on warfarin.

Keep in mind warfarin is a well known drug and is very safe if you have routine blood work and dose adjustments. Also, warfarin, like aspirin, is based on a natural substance. Aspirin is based on willow, warfarin, sweet clover.

ldowd 4 years ago

i wrote here 2 weeks ago about recovery and exercise post P.E. I was discharged from the hospital on 24th March and last week started doing a bit of swimming. I am a keen runner, but how do you know when its safe to run?? i still feel like someone is sitting on my chest and it is uncomfortable to sleep completely lying down in bed. anyone else in a similar situation to me, i would be really keen to hear from. when i have asked my doctor for advice, i just get told to relax and take it easy, there is no clear advice given. i have also been trying to chase up an appointment with a respiratory physician, but the hospital says they'll get back to me, that has been 2 weeks of waiting already. any help, advice greatly appreciated, thanks

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I would ask your doctor a slightly different question: is it safe to run. If he finds that yes, you are safe, you will need to start slowly and work back into running. I know from reading on that a handful of people are able to run right after a clot. Most people find that they really need to ease more slowly into activity.

I got a heart rate monitor watch and started walking. Down the street at first. Watching my heart rate. If it went too high I slowed down.

If you are in the US, and really want to see a pulmonologist, ask your GP for a referral. I have to say that I didn't see a pulmonologist after mine until 1 year after the clot. I still was coughing and wanted to know why. The pulnologist sent me to an ENT. The ENT fixed the cough.

My GP really did all my care post PE. I had a hematologist, but he only decided the length of time on warfarin and then tested me when I went off warfarin.

Go to to the pe support group. I suspect that will help you more than a doctor. It did in my case.

You are really just starting to heal. It took me 2 years. Your body will get better as time passes.

Happy to Still Be Here 4 years ago

Repeat CT Scan of the lungs shows that all blood clots are gone (5 months out from my PE), still shows scarring. I am still doing some good bike rides (and still get tired from them, but I keep pushing).

Has anyone heard of a correlation between PEs and low heart rates? I am usually around 45 beats per minute, but when getting the repeat CT scan, I was at 38.....Just wondering.


Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Typically PE causes a raised heart rates as the heart struggles to get oxygen from the lungs. What was your rate pre-embolism? I know my dad has a heart rate about where yours is but I tend to be near 100.

A good question though is are you on any meds that would change your rate? Beta blockers are one that I know slow your rhythm. I am not sure what other drugs do.

Great news on the clear CT!

ldowd 4 years ago

thanks for your reply lwelch. i started walking more or less within a week of coming out of hospital, and using a heart rate monitor did give me piece of mind. so for anyone else whos just starting to get back to doing some exercise, i would highly recommend buying one. i know ive come on loads since then as ive just been swimming this morning and feeling better than last week. its just the lack of information you receive post PE. I am in England, not sure how that compares to the USA's healthcare system. but this forum is great to be able to communicate with people who share your worries and who knows exactly where youre coming from. Can i ask STILL HAPPY TO BE HERE if he/she is based in the UK? only asking as when i have enquired about a future CT scan to confirm whether clot has dispersed, they are very reluctant to do more scans given the amount of radiation they put in your body.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author


Have to say I know nothing about the UK system. I recommend that you hope over to There is a huge user base in their PE support group. I bet someone there can help you with UK questions.

It sounds like you are making amazing progress! Keep it up!


Anne 4 years ago

Hi Lena,

I'm so thankful for all of your information. I was in the ER a week ago today with two PEs; I had collapsed at home and called 911. I am recovering with Warfarin after the stomach injections of Lovenox ended yesterday. Your experience in the ER and hospital sound identical to mine. I have written down some of the questions for my doctor that you suggest and will see her tomorrow. I guess it will be a long road to full recovery. Thanks and I'll check out the daily strength group.


Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Hi Anne! Welcome. If you need anything feel free to email me. Hubpages keeps a link for that in the upper right. It sounds like you found my other hubs, but just incase you haven't, check them out. I have written a lot of various things on the subject. It sounds like you are on the right track and on the road for recovery.

Best wishes!


Happy to Still be Here 4 years ago


My resting heart rate has always been low ... even before the PE. No, I am not on any medications that lower pulse.

Ldowd; I am in Colorado (USA). Originally I was told no repeat scans are typically done. While they may show interesting comparisons, they aren't needed for treatment (so insurance doesn't pay). However, since I had ongoing symptoms 5 mos out, the doctor did order the repeat CT scan to make sure nothing else was going on in my lungs.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Happy to Still be Here:

I bet then that you just have a low heart rate. It is how you are built.


I only had repeat scans because I had repeat symptoms. CT scans are really high in radiation. If you can avoid them, you should. To get an idea of how much you get from a chest CT check out:

You don't really need to know if the clots are gone. If you have worsening symptoms you need to know if there are new clots or some other nasties in your lungs. I ended up in the ER twice after my original hospitalization. Both times had a CT scan as part of my workup to find out why I couldn't breathe.

Tom B 4 years ago

Can you tell me what causes the shortness of Breath. I had a PE /DVT on April 14th

I was told my chances were slim as I had a clot from my ankle to my groin and

4 clots to the lungs.

On April 23 I had another CT scan and the lung clots were gone. This Wednesday I will have a ultra sound on my leg and another CT scan. I am praying I get good news and can go back to working!

The severe chesty pains put me back in the ER. May 4th and it was as I was fighting for my last breath and scared the heck out of me.The chest X-ray showed no collapsed lungs or heart damage. This still didn't explain the severe chest pains. I was told I may have pleurisy or all the Anxiety with this PE .

I was given a pill to take the edge of and it has helped a little. But I still feel like a baby elephant is on my chest. Seems to get worse at night. Can you tell me how long this will last? It really drives you crazy as I just want to be able to breath normal again. Thanks leech- your reports/articles and your own struggles have been a great help to me!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

My understanding is that the shortness of breath is because the lungs are essentially smaller as blood is only reaching a small part of the oxygen in the lungs. You can't breathe in as much as the clots are blocking things up.

The pain is sometimes caused by tissue death or inflammation in the lungs due to lack of oxygen, lack of lung surfactant, and collapsed lung tissue. Pleurisy is a common diagnosis prior to a PE diagnosis as it has similar symptoms. Anxiety is a common symptom to PEs.

I didn't have pain so maybe someone else can comment. I would also recommend going to and looking for the PE support group to ask that very question.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Don't know how many of you are all in the same boat as me when it comes to US health insurance. I have been worried about preexisting conditions as I was turned down by companies. I did a ton of research and found out I can get it. If you need some info, I published what I learned in a hub:

Eric 4 years ago

I had back surgery March 5, returned to surgeon 14 days later to remove stitches and discussed me having severe night sweats and leg pain. He discounted it as nothing and I went home where I started massaging my leg and walking more. I had a massive attack that sent me to a Dr that finally recognized symptoms. I had a scan that showed over six clots in right lung and four in left lung. Five days in hospital and levonox shots along with heparin drips. I returned home and went back to work after two weeks. I still struggle with chest pain, lack of energy, depression, and shortness of breath. Nothing positive I can say.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Glad you survived. We are glad to have you visit with us! I am guessing your massage dislodged all of the clots and moved them to your lungs.

I can tell you it will get better. You are only just over a month past PE diagnosis. I was out of work 3 months. You are doing amazing things if you are back still.

I am sure that you must be exhausted!

Some tips to help you heal:

1. Journal. This way you will see the progress.

2. Start writing down on Facebook or in your journal five positive things everyday. I did that and it helped a lot. I could list bad things but I had to note the positive parts of it. Did I get stuck in the rain without an umbrella right before work and I couldn't get dried off. I was thankful the flowers were watered. It sounds silly. It helps a lot.

3. Ask for help.

Those are the three things I want you to do most. If you can get counseling, do it. I know though that it sounds like your self resources are tapped out, so that may have to wait.

Feel free to contact me through the provided hub pages.

Best wishes!

kent 4 years ago

All keep the faith.

I had bilateral pulmonary embolisms, pulmonary infarcation, pleurisy, etc. from a severe tib/fib fracture three years ago Recovery--and I am still recovering--chest pains, shortness of breadth, etc.

I was and still an avid runner. Ran a 1:27 half marathon last fall, won my age division in the tough muddder and was the 58th person left standing after competing in the World's Toughest Mudder, a 24 hour adventure race with over 40 obstacles per lap. I completed 44 miles in 12 1/2 hours, quiting only because I became hypothermic.

After my diagnosis I was told my days of running were toast, etc.

Don't give in and don't be limited by your's or anyone else's self percieved limitations. You will be amazed at what the body can do.

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you Kent! We need stories of success. Congratulations on your accomplishments.

tinus 4 years ago

had serious pe november last year ie 6 months ago. on daily warfarin and feeling much better training hard again mountain biking etc but returning chest tightness as if asthma attacks make me very depressed and frustrated. specialist suggest asthma pump (??). anybody else with these attacks that come and go anytime ? what is its cause?

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

I would make sure that you have a pulmonologist and a second opinion. Make sure that you are testing for asthma and I would read about vocal cord dysfunction as well. Those are 2 causes of a feeling of chest tightness and asthma inhalers make vcd worse.

Keep asking doctors until you get an answer. I did and it was worth it. Got a pulmonologist due to shortness of breath and coughing after my PE, hated her, fired her, primary physician tried to treat me for months, finally when I was still miserable asked for another pulmonologist, got one, liked this one, he referred me to an ENT and the cause was found. Ask until you get an explanation.

larn1007 4 years ago

Hi all, I posted my story a couple of months ago having had a pulmonary embolism in early Feb of this year. Two months ago I could barely walk to the local shops without getting breathless and fatigued.

A couple of weeks ago I was back in A&E as I had similar pains to when this whole episode started. It turned out to be a false alarm but I did get a new X-ray of the affected lung which showed that the clot had completely cleared.

I am back at work and have been walking at lunch times and walking 30 minutes to the train station each evening and feeling good.

Yesterday I had the urge to, quite literally, get back on the bike and did a 22km training spin and feel great, apart from a little saddle sore after.

I am seeing a haematologist in June to try and determine cause and hopefully I can get off the Warfarin, although not in time for my sisters wedding this weekend, so it'll be a couple of pints of Guinness and then soft drinks.

I know that there are posts detailing far worse experiences than mine but I wanted to share my positive news with this group and show that there is progress given time. Thanks to everybody once again for sharing their experiences, and to LWelch (you deserve a medal), as this hub continues to provide great support & information for all who have experienced this life changing event.

Grady 28 4 years ago

I wanted to add my words of encouragement. I had my PE early February. Since then I have been seeing a hematologist. I was on warfarin until early April when I switched to taking 1 Lovenox 150 mg shot daily. I was having some chest pain so my hematologist agreed to let me try something different. My triglycerides spiked and it could be caused by the Lovenox but i retested and it's going down so I'm stickn with the shots fo now. I'm finally getting back to the gym after having gained 15 pounds. It has been a slow process but I'm starting to feel myself again (3.5 months later). I may even start playing basketball again. In a few months, I will be retested for some genetic tests that came back positive (factor 5 and a few others). All in all, I wouldn't wish this on anyone but eventually you can get back to normal. Just takes time. Thank you for this web site and for everyone's help and support. It made a huge difference for me and certainly helped with my recovery. Best, David

Kathy C 4 years ago

I'm home 1 week from my PE, Breathing tx 4x a day an inhaler, steroid, Nasal spray upto 4x daily and coumidin.

Came home at 1.1 am now 2.5 tired wanting to sleep alot.

My husband has been great, he found this site and started reading it to me. You are to be blessed by the Gods for this information. I am so relieved to get some answers, other than just be patient, it will go away!

Thank you so much! I am 61 and very used to doing aalot, with my horses and work. It's shocking that I have no interest all of a sudden. Glad to know it's just temporary!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA Author

Hi Kathy,

You will be up and about in time. Do as much as you can do each day and it will slowly get longer each time.

Were you on an inhaler before the PE? If not, pay attention to if it is helping or causing more irritation in your lungs. The nasal spray I am not familiar with. I do one for allergies but I bet it isn't the same thing. They had me on steroids and a rescue inhaler at one point for breathing issues post PE. It turns out that it may have been making my cough worse as my final shortness of breath and cough diagnosis (after 2 years of trying to be diagnosed for post PE problems!) was vocal chord dysfunction. Anything that gets on vocal chords can irritate them and make them more sensitive.

The lesson from that is, pay attention to symptoms, if they don't get better keep asking doctors questions, get a second opinion if needed (maybe a third too!), and pay attention to possible side effects from treatment.

Please feel free to read through my other hubs. A lot of stuff repeats here and there, but each hub has a focus and 90% of them are on clotting issues.

It sounds like you have a wonderful husband who is helping you through recovery. Many blessings to both of you. If you have questions let me know.


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