Pulmonary Embolism. Most are caused by a blood clot (loosened thrombus), but could be of different origin: fat, amniotic fluid, air, tumor, foreign material, septic, or parasitic. 1:13 patients who develop a PE die. In a healthy person, it takes 50% impairment of a vessel before dangerously high pulmonary arterial pressure develops. Can be treated with reduced exertion, heparin (to reduce likelihood of subsequent clots), and thrombolytics (in specific circumstances)
Air embolism in the brain a 42-year-old man with leukemia and fungal pneumonia (panel A) with was in a respirator after acute respiratory failure. Suddenly he coughed up blood and went into cardiac arrest. He was resuscitated, but CT-scan (panel B) showed a large amount of air in the blood vessels of the brain (air embolism). Cardiac resuscitation and mechanical ventilation (perhaps combined with the lung infection) were the likely cause of the air embolism in this patient.