Pulmonary Infarction: What Is It and How Can It Be Avoided

The pulmonary infarction although not present in numbers of concern in Portugal, is a serious problem and we need to be informed of how we can prevent it.

The pulmonary infarction, also known as pulmonary embolism or thrombosis of pulmonary, occurs when there is necrosis, or cell death of lung tissue due to lack of blood circulation.

What is true, is that a blood clot clogs a blood vessel of the lung, causing the blood to not pass and, thus, can cause the death phase of the affected tissue. This interrupt is caused by the blood clot results in a pain too intense and the consequent lack of air. The clot, in 95% of the time, does not originate in the lungs, but rather in the lower limbs. However, when it breaks free and enters the bloodstream, it is usual that if you scroll to the lungs, and it was in this phase that can arise this problem.

Due to breathing difficulties and possible lesions in the lungs, the organs of the whole organism may be affected since the amount of oxygen in the blood decreases, not getting enough of these.

Note that this happens when there is a single blood clot in a blood vessel, worsening the situation dramatically when there are multiple clots, or when the infarct extends for a long time.

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The lungs have two sources of irrigation, they are the pulmonary arteries and the arteries in the bronchial. It happens that when we are in the presence of a blood clot in the bloodstream, only one of the arteries will be impossible to carry the blood, continuing to another, their normal operation. Even so, there is not always a heart attack, because the integrity of lung tissue is maintained by the arteries not clogged that they will continue to send enough blood to the affected area thus preventing the death of tissue.

When this occurs, we say that there was a ischemia, and the name given to this problem is a pulmonary thromboembolism. However, when there is obstruction of the great vessels or due to other factors such as heart failure or lung disease, the volume of blood provided is not sufficient, failing to prevent the death of tissue, occurring then a pulmonary infarction, corresponding to 10% of the total cases.

The greater the breathing difficulty, minor amounts of oxygen circulating in the blood, and may even affect all the organs of our body that need a good oxygenation to perform their functions properly.


The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism or a pulmonary infarction begins to be the same:

  • Chest pain acute, especially during deep breathing;
  • Cough with expetoração and bloody;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Breathing and heart rate very fast;
  • Nausea;
  • Seizures or even death;
  • Cyanosis, skin color, bluish, in people with occlusion of one or more of the major pulmonary vessels.

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However, the myocardial has an evolution worse and more serious because once it occurs, it assumes the existence of other issues that cause a clinical condition more unfavorable, leading to the transformation of pulmonary infarction.


Once the pulmonary infarction is caused by the presence of a blood clot in an artery that travels up to the lungs, it is important to understand why it is that this clot is there.

There are several factors that increase the predisposition for clotting of the blood in the veins, such as:

  • Surgeries or medical procedures are invasive (the more extensive and time-consuming, the greater the predisposition);
  • Extended rest due to a hospital stay or just inactivity;
  • Myocardial, cerebral or myocardial infarction;
  • Obesity;
  • Fracture of the basin or of the leg;
  • Increased tendency to clotting properties of the blood;
  • Age older than 40 years;
  • History of stroke prior;
  • Family history of similar problems.

These are the most common causes of this type of stroke, it is also possible that they are caused by problems that are more rare such as air bubbles in cases of pneumothorax or in the presence of fragments that can clog the arteries. It is therefore important to be followed by a medical team, to decide what the most appropriate treatment based on the cause of this.


Before you understand how you can treat this problem, we must understand how it is that the doctor diagnoses a pulmonary infarction.

The most significant feature in these cases is the necrosis ischaemic of lung tissue in the areas of hemorrhage, which can affect alveoli, bronchi or blood vessels. However, the prognosis depends exclusively on the severity of all the factors involved. Also, other examinations are required, such as for example an electrocardiogram, x-rays to the thorax or laboratory tests are specific.

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When the doctor is unable to complete the diagnosis, the time comes to think about the treatment. This encompasses two key aspects: support the cardiovascular and ventilatory acute as well as the definitive treatment.

The first, it is a symptomatic treatment that passes for ventilation and measures of cardiovascular support.

Already the second, you start to be done with the use of oxygen and analgesic, and continues with the administration of the anticoagulants via systemic, in the first place, and by the oral route, then.

The anticoagulant preferred is heparin, which prevents the increase of the volume of blood clots and thereby prevents the formation of new clots. Finally, it administers warfarin, a powerful anticoagulant that needs more action time.

The duration of this treatment for the pulmonary infarction, depends on the patient and their response, and this is why it is important that they are made analyses periodically.