What Is the Prognosis for a Blood Clot in the Lung?

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The prognosis for a blood clot in the lung depends on the size and location of the clot and how quickly treatment for the clot is initiated, according to eMedicineHealth. The bigger the blood vessel being blocked and the larger the clot, the worse the prognosis.

When a blood clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it is known as a pulmonary embolism. Some people who experience a pulmonary embolism die immediately, while others may die a short time afterwards when the body is unable to get needed oxygen. Blood pressure collapse can also occur with a pulmonary embolism, causing death, notes eMedicineHealth.

In people who experience pulmonary embolism who survive initially and receive needed emergency treatment, the prognosis is greatly improved, states eMedicineHealth. Hospitalization for a few days to make sure the blood is thinned adequately may be required. Medication for thinning the blood may need to be taken for six months or even longer following a bout with pulmonary embolism. Some people may need to take this type of medication for life.

Another option is to have a filter inserted surgically into the vena cava, according to eMedicineHealth. The filter keeps large clots from reaching the lungs and can be removed later on if necessary. Candidates for a filter placement include patients who require surgery or are unable to take blood thinners.