Pulmonary embolism: more common than most realize

Blood clots in the lungs are potentially deadly - and more common than you think
March 9, 2015

When Michelle Waller, a multi-sport athlete, felt a cramp in her right leg, she thought it was no big deal. But soon after during a triathlon, she felt like her lungs “were going to collapse.” A specialist later told her she had dozens of clots in her lungs.

A blood clot in the lung, called a pulmonary embolism, is potentially deadly and much more common than most people realize. “It’s estimated that maybe 600,000 cases of pulmonary embolism occur in the U.S. each year,” says Dr. Todd Bull, Head of the Pulmonary Embolism Clinic at UCHealth’s University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora.

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About the author

UCHealth is an innovative, nonprofit health system that delivers the highest quality medical care with an excellent patient experience. With 24,000 employees, UCHealth includes 12 acute-care full-service hospitals and hundreds of physicians across Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska. With University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus as its academic anchor and the only adult academic medical center in the region, UCHealth pushes the boundaries of medicine, providing advanced treatments and clinical trials and improving health through innovation.