How does pulmonary embolism surgery increase your risk of forming blood clots in the lungs?


Quick Answer

Pulmonary embolism surgery increases the risk of forming blood clots in the lungs by causing an additional opportunity for blood clots to develop, according to WebMD. The extended period of bed rest following any surgery also increases the chances of blood clots developing, states Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

A previous pulmonary embolism is one of the greatest risk factors for developing subsequent clots, states WebMD. Any surgery creates an opportunity for fat, air bubbles, and other substances to be released into the bloodstream and cause a blood clot. The injury to the blood vessels and surrounding tissues that occurs during surgery necessarily involves further clotting as the tissue heals. Anticoagulant medications given before and after surgery do not always prevent the continued development of blood clots in some people.

The complete immobility of the body during surgery is another factor leading to the formation of blood clots, reports Mayo Clinic. This risk increases the longer a patient is kept under general anesthesia. The extended period of bed rest required following major surgery causes a patient to be further vulnerable to blood clot formation because the venous blood slows and can pool in the legs when the extremities are kept horizontal for long periods.

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