Asthma patients face higher risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis

By: Emily Lunardo | Asthma | Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 01:45 PM

Asthma patients face higher risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis

Asthma patients face higher risk of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. The findings were published in the European Respiratory Journal. Researchers looked at moderate to severe asthma sufferers and their risk of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.

Pulmonary embolism is a condition in which the main artery of the lung or the bronchi becomes blocked as a result of deep vein thrombosis, which develops when a blood clot moves towards the lungs.

The study looked at 648 asthma patients aged 18 to 88. History of asthma was examined, along with medication use and any previous diagnosis of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. Results from the asthma patients were compared to individuals without asthma.

The findings revealed that asthma patients have a nine times greater risk of pulmonary embolism, in comparison to people without asthma. Additionally, those with mild to moderate asthma had 3.5 times greater risk of pulmonary embolism as well. Furthermore, the researchers identified corticosteroids as a potential risk factor for the risk increase.

Lead author Dr. Christof Majoor said, “This is the first time a link has been found between asthma and pulmonary embolism, and we believe these results have important clinical implications. Our findings suggest that people with severe asthma have an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, and doctors should increase their awareness of the possibility of this occurrence in order to help prevent this serious event.”

Pulmonary embolism treatment options

Pulmonary embolism can be treated with medications, procedures, and other therapies as well. The goal of treating pulmonary embolism is to prevent the blood clot from becoming larger and to stop new clots from forming.

Medications used to treat pulmonary embolism consist of anticoagulants that thin the blood. Although blood thinners will not help existing blood clots become smaller, they can work to ensure the blood clots don’t get bigger in size, and that new ones do not form.

If pulmonary embolism becomes life-threatening, then emergency measures must take place, including treatment methods to break up the clot or remove it completely. Thrombolytics work to break up blood clots quickly, but do come with a side effect of severe bleeding. Because of this, they are only used in emergency situations. A catheter may also be an option for blood clot removal. It is inserted into a vein and is used to remove the clot or administer medications.

Other types of treatment include a vena cava filter, which is a device that prevents a blood clot from travelling to the lungs. Wearing compression stockings can reduce swelling that results from a blood clot, and they help keep blood pressure above the leg and prevent the blood from pooling.

Depending on the severity of your blood clot, your doctor will best choose the appropriate mode of treatment for your situation.


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Related Reading:

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): causes, symptoms and prevention
Patient care improves with lower risk treatment for blood clots

Sources:

http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=127080&CultureCode=en

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