Anticoagulation or blood thinning medication is a cornerstone of treatment for pulmonary embolism. Patients will usually require these medications for at least three months, but possibly longer, depending on the risk for a recurrent event. For patients with a second pulmonary embolism or DVT, lifelong anticoagulation is usually then recommended. Major side effects from anticoagulation medications is bleeding, and patients are recommended to seek medical attention immediately with any significant bleeds. Sometimes an ICU patients who are hospitalized in the ICU, TPA medications, which can be thought of as a clot busting medication, may become necessary. Investigational procedures, including catheter directed administration of TPA and thrombectomy procedures involving mechanical removal of blood clots from the arteries of the lungs can be considered at specialized medical centers.
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