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How Can Pulmonary Embolism Be Prevented?

Preventing pulmonary embolism (PE) begins with preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Knowing whether you're at risk for DVT and taking steps to lower your risk are important.

  • Exercise your lower leg muscles if you're sitting for a long time while traveling.
  • Get out of bed and move around as soon as you're able after having surgery or being ill. The sooner you move around, the better your chance is of avoiding a blood clot.
  • Take medicines to prevent clots after some types of surgery (as your doctor prescribes).
  • Follow up with your doctor.

If you've already had DVT or PE, you can take more steps to prevent new blood clots from forming. Visit your doctor for regular checkups. Also, use compression stockings to prevent chronic (ongoing) swelling in your legs from DVT (as your doctor advises).

Contact your doctor right away if you have any signs or symptoms of DVT or PE.

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Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Pulmonary Embolism, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.


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July 01, 2011 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.