What is Pulmonary Vein Thrombosis?

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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 20 December 2018
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The formation of blood clots leads to pulmonary vein thrombosis. Various risk factors contribute to the likelihood of a blood clot developing, including smoking, recent surgery, medication, and obesity. Pulmonary vein thrombosis is a serious and life threatening condition, and can lead to death if left untreated or if the symptoms go unnoticed.

Pulmonary vein thrombosis is a type of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT typically occurs in the veins running through the lower leg and thigh area, but a thrombosis can occur in any vein of the human body and lead to an embolism. An embolism occurs when the blood clot breaks free and travels to other areas of the body, such as the heart or lungs.

The causes of blood clots in veins throughout the body are numerous. Causes, such as surgical complications, lung tumors, and complications related to medication, such as birth control pills, aren’t always avoidable. Other causes and contributing risk factors for pulmonary vein thrombosis, such as cigarette smoking and obesity, are largely avoidable. Limiting those risk factors which can be prevented can help prevent the formation of a thrombosis.

Signs and symptoms related to pulmonary vein thrombosis may not be evident until the condition turns into an embolism. At this point, symptoms can include shortness of breath, coughing up of blood, and pain when taking deep breaths. Other signs can include rapid heartbeat and breathing. Those experiencing these signs need immediate medical attention.


Danger arises from any DVT, including a pulmonary vein thrombosis, when it becomes an embolism. Embolisms travel through the vein and can get lodged in various organs, such as the lungs, brain, and heart. When this occurs, the situation becomes an emergency medical situation, and immediate treatment is necessary and death is a possibility.

Various tests can help diagnose a pulmonary vein thrombosis. This includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests and CT scans. Other tests a physician may order to diagnose the possible presence of a blood clot include various blood tests to check for genetic mutations and various protein levels.

If a pulmonary vein thrombosis, or any thrombosis for that matter, is discovered, a physician will likely prescribe a blood thinning medication, also called an anticoagulant. This medication will help prevent new clots and keep small ones from getting larger. Depending on the situation and severity of the thrombosis, a hospital stay may be necessary for observation while treatment continues.



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