Pulmonary Thromboembolism (PE)
What is Pulmonary Thromboembolism (PE)?
When blood clots form in the lower limbs, they can partly block the flow of blood from the legs. This condition is called deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
If a blood clot dislodges and travels through a person's body to his or her lungs, it causes a condition called pulmonary embolism or PE. A pulmonary embolism reduces or blocks your lung's ability to supply oxygen to your body.
A pulmonary embolism can cause shortness of breath with mild exertion, and can impair lung function. It may even cause heart failure or death. Each year, between 50,000 and 200,000 people in the U.S. die from pulmonary embolism.
What Are the Vena Cava?
The vena cava are the two major veins that move blood from the upper and lower body to the heart.
The superior vena cava drains blood from the upper body into the heart. The inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the body, drains blood from the lower body into the heart.
What is a Vena Cava Filter?
A vena cava filter is a wire device placed inside the vena cava to capture blood clots. Since most blood clots are formed in the legs, a filter placed in the inferior vena cava will capture clots before they migrate into your heart or lungs.
By trapping clots, the vena cava filter helps prevent pulmonary embolism and keeps the lungs functioning properly.