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Pulmonary Embolism Care

For patients with a pulmonary embolism (PE), the Heart and Vascular Center has a multidisciplinary 24/7 Pulmonary Embolism Response Team (PERT) to provide initial evaluation and a treatment plan.

In Connecticut, only Yale New Haven Hospital has a dedicated 24/7 adult and pediatric PERT program offering all medical, endovascular and surgical therapies for acute and chronic pulmonary embolism as well as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Our Pulmonary Embolism Response Team includes pulmonologists, intensivists, interventional radiologists, cardiologists, surgeons, hematologists and emergency medicine physicians. PERT includes specialists from Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and pediatric Critical Care Medicine clinical staffs who provide advanced inpatient and outpatient services to diagnose, treat, and monitor a wide range of respiratory diseases for critically ill patients.

About one in 1,000 people develops a pulmonary embolism – a blood clot that travels to the lungs from elsewhere in the body. It can block blood flow to the lungs and strain the heart. Symptoms include chest pain, difficulty breathing, lightheadedness or fainting, cough, palpitations and low blood pressure.

Tests to diagnose a PE include routine blood work, physical examination and dedicated imaging such as computed tomography (CT scan), echocardiography or ventilation-perfusion (VQ) scan. Treatment options vary based on blood clot severity and may include blood thinners (anticoagulants), and/or a minimally invasive endovascular procedure known as catheter-directed embolectomy that uses a catheter fitted with a suction device to remove the clot. In some cases, clot busters (thrombolytics) or surgery is needed. Yale New Haven Hospital is the only hospital in Connecticut that can perform a curative surgical procedure for adults with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), a potential complication from a pulmonary embolism. After treatment, the PERT provides long-term outpatient care.

Yale New Haven Hospital, inclusive of Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, is an active participant in the National PERT Consortium where our specialists are advancing research, knowledge and treatment protocols aimed at increasing survival rates for patients across the world.

Pediatric Pulmonary Embolism Response Team

Though a pulmonary embolism is rare in children, a specialized Pulmonary Embolism Response Team is ready 24/7 to evaluate, diagnose and treat children at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital (YNHCH) with this condition. YNHCH is one of few hospitals in the United States with this specialty care for pediatric patients.