Recurrent pulmonary embolism

Causes and Risk Factors of Recurrent Pulmonary Embolism

A recurrent pulmonary embolism occurs when a piece of blood clot or thrombus (a blood clot that forms inside a vein) breaks loose from where it originated and travels to the lung, blocking any vessels. This occurrence can be dangerous and requires prompt medical diagnosis and treatment.

While the exact cause of a recurrent pulmonary embolism may not be clear, certain factors increase the likelihood of developing the condition. These risk factors include:

  • A previous pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • An inherited clotting disorder
  • Immobility due to a medical condition or lengthy bedrest
  • An injury to the leg, such as a fracture or sprain
  • Major surgery, particularly hip or knee replacement surgery
  • Taking Estrogen-containing medications such as hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Having cancer

Increased age also increases the risk of recurrent pulmonary embolism. It is estimated that more than 100,000 deaths in the United States each year are the result of pulmonary embolisms.