How to avoid pulmonary embolism after surgery? Doctor gives tips!

Pulmonary embolism is a disease that causes the arteries in the lungs to clog. The problem, which develops because of a clot that blocks the passage of blood through the artery, occurs more frequently in smokers, pregnant women, patients who use contraceptives, who have a history of cases in the family and, mainly, who underwent high-intensity surgical procedures. In the latter case, the picture becomes even more problematic, since the patient is quite weakened and with a sensitive immune system.

A very common question about this very worrying topic is how to avoid post-surgery pulmonary embolism. With that in mind, the team at Life Care interviewed pulmonologist Ciro Kirchenchtejn, who clarified the issue and gave tips on how to prevent the problem. Check out!

What is Pulmonary Embolism? What are the causes?

Pulmonary embolism happens when blood clots (called thrombi) migrate through the bloodstream. “These are clots that form, almost always in the veins of the legs, and travel through these veins to the heart, from where they are sent to the lungs. As these thrombi cause obstruction to blood flow, this ends up obstructing the blood flow, characterizing pulmonary embolism”, says Dr. Cyrus. However, the doctor points out that the problem can also be caused by air and amniotic fluid, for example.

Pulmonary embolism after surgery: why does it happen?

First of all, an important point needs to be clarified: it is not the surgery itself that causes pulmonary embolism. Factors such as patient inactivity during (due to the effect of general anesthesia) and after the surgical procedure (with absolute rest time) are important, but not the only ones. Dr. Ciro gives an example of a patient who placed prosthesis on the hip: “There is an imbalance in the coagulation system. Factors such as immobilization, traction, dehydration, medications and personal history can lead to an increased risk of thrombus (clots) forming in the lungs”.

How to avoid pulmonary embolism? Check out the recommendations of a pulmonologist!


If you are going to have surgery and want to avoid the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism, Dr. Ciro recommends some precautions for specific patient profiles: “Older patients, who have varicose veinswho already had thromboses in the past, who have diseases that favor the creation of thrombi or who undergo higher-risk surgeries should see a clinician to plan measures with both medication and non-pharmacological measures to prevent thrombus formation”. In addition, there are other important tips that can help a lot:

  • Quit smoking;

  • no stay seated or standing in the same position for many hours straight;

  • increase water consumption throughout the day;

  • wear comfortable clothes (nothing too tight);

  • adopt a healthier diet.

Even if the patient is instructed to remain at rest, it is essential to clarify with the doctor whether it is possible to take light walks to avoid the risk of pulmonary embolism. In addition, it is worth remembering that there are doctors who choose to use a device during surgery that imitates walking, in order to stimulate blood circulation and prevent the appearance of thrombi in the legs.

What are the symptoms of pulmonary embolism?

Pulmonary embolism can pose a number of risks to the patient’s health, especially if a lot of clots appear and if the clots are large. The pneumologist explains that the obstruction of blood circulation in the lungs can cause pain, shortness of breath, bloody sputum, fainting, pressure drop and oxygenation. There are cases where there may be loss of part of the lung and, in the most serious cases, pulmonary embolism can even lead to death. Therefore, it is very important to raise awareness about the subject and learn ways to prevent the formation of this condition, especially after surgery.

The post Care for Life.


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