Pulmonary Embolism Treatment and Care

A pulmonary embolism can be a life-threatening emergency. At Cedars-Sinai, you receive care from some of the world’s leading pulmonary embolism specialists. We offer all the latest techniques, allowing many people to make a full recovery. And we develop a lasting relationship with you that helps lower your risk for future problems.

If you think you or a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency, dial 911 immediately.

About Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism starts as a blood clot somewhere in the body, often in your leg (deep vein thrombosis or DVT). The force of blood flow against the clot can cause a segment to break off (embolus).

The embolus then travels through your bloodstream to your lungs and gets stuck. You may experience symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness and chest pain. You may even pass out.

Diagnosing and treating pulmonary embolism as quickly as possible helps you avoid complications, such as right-sided heart failure—it can also save your life.

Our Approach to Pulmonary Embolism Treatment

Our pulmonary embolism specialists are advancing care by uncovering new methods for diagnosing, treating and preventing this condition. Our expertise means you have access to the best possible care.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Timely care: We are among the first centers in the U.S. providing a coordinated, rapid response to pulmonary embolism emergencies. If you are experiencing pulmonary embolism symptoms, a member of our team is quickly at your hospital bedside. Our approach helps you receive lifesaving care as fast as possible.
  • Safety: Our leadership in pulmonary embolism research leads to effective care that lowers your risk of complications. While doctors usually treat patients with blood thinners, people often need more aggressive therapy to reduce clotting in the lungs. Our research efforts have led to new care methods to remove emboli using shorter procedures and gentler techniques. These procedures allow us to re-open clogged pulmonary arteries while protecting nearby tissue.
  • Focus on prevention: After a pulmonary embolism, your chances of having one in the future are higher. We deliver specialized care that lowers this risk. Our expertise draws people who received their initial pulmonary embolism treatment in other centers.

Day by day, Carol Albright was losing her breath more and more quickly. Compared to the previous day, she noticed little change, but when she thought back a week or so, the steady worsening was unmistakable.

Preventive Care for Pulmonary Embolism

We provide services that meet the unique needs of people who are at risk for pulmonary embolism. Our offerings include:

  • Blood thinners (anticoagulants): These medications prevent future pulmonary embolism by decreasing your body’s ability to form blood clots. There are many types of blood thinners. We’ll recommend the option that’s best for you.
  • Testing: We perform testing to determine your risk for future blood clots. We may recommend genetic testing to determine if you have a clotting problem that runs in your family. Your care may also include imaging tests of your lungs, heart and legs to detect early signs of a pulmonary embolism.
  • Monitoring: If you need to go to the hospital, our pulmonary vascular disease experts check in on you regularly to make sure you receive the care you need. We also provide follow-up care for you in our specialized pulmonary embolism clinic to help you to stay as healthy as possible.
  • Pulmonary hypertension treatments: A small number of pulmonary embolism patients end up with high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries (chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension). You may face a higher risk of this condition if you have recurring blood clots in your lungs. We provide expert evaluation and treatments.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: Becoming more physically active reduces your risk of developing future blood clots. If your recovery is slower, you may be able to participate in a supervised exercise program that’s tailored to meet the needs of people with lung disease. Learn more about our pulmonary rehabilitation program.

The Cedars-Sinai Pulmonary Embolism Response Team

Our Pulmonary Embolism Response Team (PERT) is available around-the-clock to provide rapid pulmonary embolism evaluations and treatment. You benefit from the recommendations of multiple experts who come together to coordinate and deliver lifesaving care. Our team includes specialists in:

  • Pulmonology and critical care
  • Cardiology
  • Heart surgery
  • Interventional radiology (treating medical problems using sophisticated imaging techniques)
  • Blood disorders (hematology)
  • Vascular surgery
Still Have Questions or Need Help

If you need a diagnosis, treatment or second opinion, call or send a message to our care team. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Pacific Time (U.S.)
Available 24 hours a day