Pulmonary embolism is common and can be deadly yet few know the signs – AHA

Public radio fans knew NPR books editor Petra Mayer as an exuberant lover of science fiction, romance novels, comic books and cats. “If it’s fun and nerdy, I’m all about it,” she declared.

Friends and family now are mourning the loss of the witty, bubbly 46-year-old. She died earlier this month of what her parents said was a pulmonary embolism. Few details were released about the circumstances of her sudden death. But experts said it highlights the need for greater understanding of pulmonary embolism, also known as PE.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

“Unfortunately, PE can strike people at all stages of life, from the young and healthy to the older and not as healthy,” said Dr. Karlyn Martin, an assistant professor of medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Pulmonary embolism is the third-leading cause of cardiovascular death. But, Martin said, people are much less aware of its symptoms.

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