How is pulmonary embolism (PE) prevented?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020
  • Author: Daniel R Ouellette, MD, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Preventing idiopathic outpatient pulmonary embolism is difficult, if not impossible. That said, the majority of pulmonary embolisms occur in hospitalized patients. The incidence in these cases can be reduced through appropriate prophylaxis, achieved mechanically or via the administration of heparin, LMWH, or warfarin. [5]

The incidence of venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and death can be significantly reduced by embracing a prophylactic strategy in high-risk patients. Prevention of DVT in the lower extremities inevitably reduces the frequency of pulmonary embolism; therefore, populations at risk must be identified, and safe and efficacious prophylactic modalities should be used.

Regular physical exercise, leg elevation, and wearing compression stockings may aid in preventing pulmonary embolism.

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