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Pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs. In most cases, pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs or, rarely, other parts of the body (deep vein thrombosis).

Because pulmonary embolism almost always occurs in conjunction with deep vein thrombosis, most doctors refer to the two conditions together as venous thromboembolism.

Although anyone can develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, factors such as immobility, cancer and surgery increase your risk.

Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening, but prompt treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death. Taking measures to prevent blood clots in your legs will help protect you against pulmonary embolism.

March 18, 2015