Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening. About one-third of people with undiagnosed and untreated pulmonary embolism don't survive. When the condition is diagnosed and treated promptly, however, that number drops dramatically.

Pulmonary embolism can also lead to pulmonary hypertension, a condition in which the blood pressure in your lungs and right side of the heart is too high. When you have obstructions in the arteries inside your lungs, your heart must work harder to push blood through those vessels. This increases the blood pressure within these vessels and the heart and can wear out a section of your heart.

In rare cases, small emboli frequently develop, resulting in chronic thrombotic pulmonary embolism.

Jan. 02, 2014