The risk factors of a Pulmonary Embolism


A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood vessel in your lungs becomes blocked. Often this blockage is caused by a blood clot.






What can increase your chance of getting a pulmonary embolism?

  • When you have been inactive for a long time –

If you have not moved around for a while, blood tends to collect in the lower part of your body especially in the lower legs and normally when you then start to move again, the blood flow increases and the blood begins to move evenly around your body. If you have had an operation, been on a long haul flight or long car journey or have had a long period of bed rest then the flow of blood around your body can be very slow.

  • Being Overweight
  • Pregnancy – the risk is increased for up to six weeks after you have given birth
  • Smoking
  • *Some forms of HRT (Hormone replacement therapy)
  • *Some forms of hormone based contraception

*The chances of developing a blood clot are very small if you are taking the contraceptive pill or HRT and the healthcare professional prescribing them will consider the risk prior to prescribing them for you.

It is possible (although not as common) that you have a condition that causes your blood to clot more easily than normal such as cancer and the cancer treatments that you may have such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Is a pulmonary embolism a serious medical condition?

Yes, a pulmonary embolism is a serious condition as it can prevent blood from reaching your lungs and it is essential to have medical treatment quickly as this can prove to be lifesaving.

Most of the time a pulmonary embolism is caused by a blood clot travelling up from one of the veins in your legs and this kind of clot is known as a deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

Statistics show that around half of all people who develop a pulmonary embolism do so whilst they are in hospital.

The above information has been sourced from