Pulmonary embolism - Symptoms of pulmonary embolism
NHS Choices Medical Reference
Signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the artery that carries blood to the lungs) include chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing.
It can be difficult to recognise the signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism because they can vary between individuals. Small clots may cause no noticeable symptoms.
Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism can include:
chest or upper back pain - a sharp, stabbing pain that may be worse when breathing in
shortness of breath - which may come on suddenly or develop gradually
coughing - which is usually dry, but may include coughing up blood or mucus that contains blood
feeling light-headed or dizzy
Many pulmonary embolisms are caused by a blood clot in the leg, known as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), travelling towards the lungs. Therefore some people with a pulmonary embolism also have symptoms of DVT, such as pain, redness and swelling in one leg.
Seeking medical help
You should visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience any combination of the above symptoms. If it is not possible for you to visit your GP, you can call NHS 111 or you can contact your local out-of-hours service for advice.
You should dial 999 for an ambulance immediately if your symptoms are severe.