NCLEX RN Quiz # 989

NCLEX Examination.

Practice Question 989.


nclex quiz


Pulmonary embolism (PE) refers to the obstruction of the pulmonary artery or one of its branches by a thrombus (or thrombi) that originates somewhere in the venous system or in the right side of the heart. Most commonly, PE is due to a blood clot or thrombus.

However, there are other types of emboli: air, fat, amniotic fluid, and septic (from bacterial invasion of the thrombus). It is estimated that more than half a million people develop PE yearly, resulting in more than 50,000 deaths. PE is a common disorder and often is associated with trauma, surgery (orthopedic, major abdominal, pelvic, gynecologic), pregnancy, heart failure, age older than 50 years, hypercoagulable states, and prolonged immobility. It also may occur in an apparently healthy person.


Although most thrombi originate in the deep veins of the legs, other sites include the pelvic veins and the right atrium of the heart. A venous thrombosis can result from slowing of blood flow (stasis), secondary to damage to the blood vessel wall (particularly the endothelial lining) or changes in the blood coagulation mechanism. Atrial fibrillation is also a cause of pulmonary embolism. An enlarged right atrium in fibrillation causes blood to stagnate and form clots in this area. These clots are prone to travel into the pulmonary circulation.

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