By Ann M
January 16, 2013
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: DVT   pulmonary embolism  

Dr. Bishop and Dr. Rappette are members of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons, where research indicates that each year in the United States, pulmonary embolisms (PE) kill more people than AIDS, breast cancer and motor vehicle crashes combined.  This little known condition occurs when a blood clot in the leg travels to the lungs, blocking one or more arteries.  You may recall tennis star Serena Williams in the news after suffering from a PE following surgery.  This raised awareness about the condition, its risk factors and how to prevent this potentially deadly condition from occurring. 

The blood clots that cause PE often originate in the deep veins of the leg, a condition called deep vein thrombosis or DVT.  At highest risk are women, overweight men and women, smokers and those taking oral contraceptives.  Surgery is also one of the leading causes of blood clots, so it is important to speak to your surgeon about elevated risks so that preventative measures can be taken.  But just how common are blood clots in the leg following foot and ankle surgery?  According to the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons, they are relatively rare, and the clots can be prevented with anti-clotting medication and exercise.  DVT is diagnosed with an ultrasound, and depending on a patient's risk factors, confirmed cases can be treated with anti-clotting medications for six months to a year to prevent new clots from forming.  Surgeons have also learned that an important preventative is getting up and moving around after surgery, even if you are wearing a cast or using crutches. 

Symptoms of pulmonary embolisms vary and can mimic those of other conditions such as a heart attack. The most common signs include sudden, unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain and a cough that produces blood-tinged mucus. Other symptoms may include wheezing, leg swelling, excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat and fainting.  Pulmonary embolisms can occur quickly, and prompt medical attention is vital for recovery, so patients need to seek care if they are suffering from any of the symptoms associated with the condition.

If you are suffering from foot or lower leg pain or have concerns about your foot health, contact Dr. Bishop or Dr. Rappette at the Foot & Ankle Centers nearest you, where we put your feet first. 

Yorkville ~ 630-553-9300     Morris ~ 815-942-9050     Sandwich ~ 815-786-9451