Pulmonary Embolism

7 Replies
cookie96 - November 7

I just wanted to warn anyone who has a c-section to be aware of the risk (although rare) of developing pulmonary embolism. My doctor and the nurses at the hospital advised me to be aware of developing clots in my leg after the surgery, however I was never told about the risk of PE. When my daughter was two and half weeks old I began to have severe pain in my left arm, shoulder blade, and along my rib cage. Because I had been on bedrest for the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy and not lifting anything the two weeks after the delivery, I assumed I had pulled a muscle. I was in awful pain for three days before I went to the emergency room and discovered I must have developed clots in my abdomen that dislodged and moved into my lungs. The ER Dr. said I could have died if I had waited any longer. I was in the hospital for a week, and in pain for two weeks. There are a host of other issues that arose because of this situation, as you can imagine. I am ok now, I will be on blood thinning medication for three months and then hopefully it will all be over with. When I asked questions about recovery and potential problems I was never told of the risk of this happening, and became very sick because of it. I suggest you talk to your dr about clots, etc. and make sure you know what symptoms to look for in case this happens to you. I do not mean to scare anyone....I just wish someone would have told me about this prior to leaving the hospital. Good luck to everyone!


lovemy3 - November 8

thnaks for the info. I am aware of that and am having my 4th section. It is very true. postpartum I recieve heparin shots for that reason. I am overweight and my dr says thats a risk factor. thanks for sharing very important info and congrats and get well soon!


docbytch - November 8

actually...it's usually the clots in your legs (DVTs) which can embolize to your lungs and become the pulmonary embolis you spoke of. theoretically...prevention of DVTs should prevent PEs as well. development of clots in the abdomen happens less often. the key to prevention of those DVTs is to move around as much as possible immediately following surgery and throughout your recovery.... the fact you were on bedrest put you at significant risk...and it also sounds like your recovery was slowed a bit by inactivity. I am very sorry for what happened to you...and the medical profession tends not to elaborate enough on their reasons for doing things when talking to patients. docs are horrible and nurses can be less than forthcoming as well. glad you are doing better!


usc_aztecgoddess - November 9

Hi I just want to know how did they determine it was pulmonary embolism? I am 4 months pregnant now and had my first baby in Dec. last year through c-section. I was only in the hospital for a day and ahalf before the doctor sent me home. the second night home I had the same symtoms you discribed ( it actually was just a horrible pain in my upper abdomen and was short of breath and couldn't even stand up.) I ended up being admitted into the hospital because they said i had a high fever, low oxygen readings, and high BP. But they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me after the 4th day in the hospital they sent me to ICU because my fever was just out of control. And by then I was having the horrible shoulder blade pain that went down to my arm and around my rib cage. They finally diagnosed me with a pnemonia. But i almost feel that they just did that to lable my illness because they couldn't figure out what it was, or that perhaps I didn't have a pnemonia when i went to the E.R. but developed it there in the hospital. I am so confused and scared because I am pregnant again and i am soooo scared of gettingsick again. I am also very upset because just like you know one told me of any of these complications even after paying $120 for the birthing cla__ses.


cookie96 - November 9

usc-aztecgoddess: I was diagnosed after they did a CAT scan(I think that is what it is called). The ER dr. said I had multiple clots in the left side of my lungs. I have tried to do a little research about it since it happened and have read that it is often misdiagnosed (as possibly in your case) and can be fatal due to that. I was fortunate that the ER Dr. checked because I really thought I just pulled a muscle, and they could have just as easily sent me home with pain meds. I am not sure if I had a fever, but I did have high bp and a low oxygen reading. By the way, I know what you mean about paying for the cla__s and then not getting much info. I paid the same for a childbirth cla__s and in 14 hours they only discussed ceserean sections for about 15 minutes. The rest of the cla__s was basically techniques for having a natural childbirth. Unfortunately for me I was not able to do that, but I still gave birth to a child and had no info from the cla__s! Docbych: Are you in the medical profession? I am curious because I never had any type of symptom of clots in my legs (as far as what I was told to look for) and so I a__sumed they formed in my abdomen. Just curious if they can form in the leg and dislodge without any indication they were there in the first place. I was very active following surgery because I had a great recovery (and after 8 weeks of bedrest I did not want to sit at home anymore!)


djh - November 9

Glad you are finally getting better and congrats on your baby! There is a serious lack of proper attention paid to c-sections. Many people have a very cavalier att_tude regarding them. Surgery is surgery and the risks are there. There are also other types of emboli that can form from birth. There is a unique one, called amniotic embolus that comes when amniotic fluid gets introduced into the mother's blood stream during birth. I know they never told me that before my sections! It seems they gloss over the risks for c-sections and that is why I am known to be a huge skeptic on it's current high useage. The newest studies have unfortunately shown that maternal morbidity has increased with the increased rate of c-section. Just one more thing for mothers to consider regarding childbirth. Best of luck to you!


docbytch - November 10

Yes I am in healthcare. djh is also correct about the amniotic fluid embolism...however those tend to have higher mortality rates than PEs. Not all DVTs will be symptomatic...although most of the time they are painful. Unilateral redness, pain, and swelling of one calf more than the other tend to be tip-offs. Whatever happened in your case...it was wrong for your healthcare team to not fully inform you of the risks.


babybrain32 - November 16

I'm also in the medical profession (nurse), a mother of a 2yr old via c-section and 17wks pregnant with #2. I will have to deliver via c-section again. Although I am aware of the risks and took precautions the first time around, I am still nervous sometimes about having to go through the same thing again. Its nice to see that women are becoming more and more aware of the risks and becoming smarter about their care. Best wishes to all you ladies =)



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