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Continuing Pain After Pulmonary Embolism

I suffered a non-massive PE 1 month ago. Pain at the moment of the PE and for 48 hours after was significant - 8 on a scale of 10 - and almost always when breathing in. One month post event I still have significant pain at the site of the PE, pleuritic, but it stays more or less the same intensity regardless of breathing process - Say 3 to 5 on the scale of 10, worse as the day progresses. I also experience many dozens, if not over a hundred, sharp pangs - "zingers" - a day that are quite painful, as much so as the original event - at the site of the PE or sometimes simply in the same chest quadrant. These last only a few seconds, but may come in clusters of 3 to 5, with a dull echo of pain that lasts perhaps several minutes afterward. The steady pain is similar to a toothache in persistence, over a wider area, but is not burning - but rather "bruising" - as if someone had struck me. The sharp pains are like touching that tooth. The discomfort was bad enough that one week ago I returned to the hospital where they performed another CAT scan - which was negative for any recurring embolisms. I am taking pain relievers, which help adequately, but I do not wish to take these for an extended amount of time, which I consider a month or more to be. I can find no reference in the literature about recurring "after-PE" pain. I visit my doctor in 3 days and wish to be prepared to ask the right questions. Is this pain typical for post PE? Is a complication perhaps emerging which is exacerbating the original problem? PS - the cause of the PE is still undetermined.
11 Responses
251132 tn?1198082422
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot in an artery of the lungs.  It is unusual, but not unheard of, for the pain of pulmonary embolism to last this long. I am reassured by the repeat CT scan that there have been no recurrent emboli and that there is not another lung problem.  One can have pleurisy with a normal CT.
If the pain were mine, I would continue to take pain relievers and, if the pain does not go away in another two weeks, check back with your doctor.
Avatar universal
I also have PE from upper extremity blood clot
that traveled to lungs becuz my coumadin fell  below therapeutic
level.  Are you on coumadin?  I have significant pain in arm
that was affected - taking tylenol as needed
have not yet returned to work
Avatar universal
Sorry Goldie716 I have not returned to this site until now to look at the thread.

Yes I am on coumadin. I am approaching the 6 month point where continuation will be decided. As it turned out, I stayed on pain relievers for 3 months. The pain has lessened, but not gone away. Some days are just as bad as the early ones. Some days are almost pain free. I have more of the pain-reduced days than pain-filled, so I suppose progress is the name for that.

I have had 2 follow-on CAT scans and 1 MRI since my post, all driven by continuing pain, or that plus another symptom. All negative. All genetic tests came back negative and I have no symptoms of leg pain, nor have I ever, even previous to the PE. So the cause of the PE is undiagnosed and I have to decide whether to continue anti-coagulant therapy. I will post such a question to the board at the top in a minute.

Thank you for your post

Avatar universal
A related discussion, still in lots of pain 1 month after pe was started.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, pe was started.
Avatar universal
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