Urgent: Possible Embolism

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Hello everyone,

I am 22 years old. I made a post like this before, but I've had a few new symptoms so I'd just like to see if anyone else experienced this will their embolism. First let me preface this by saying I understand no one on here can definitely tell me whether I have a PE or not, and I know the best course of action would be to see a doctor (I have but she has not suspected a blood clot). For about 3 months I have been experiencing intermittent moderate chest and shoulder pressure on my left side. It can be felt from my left chest to my left upper abdomen. I also have been feeling random split-second needle like sensations in that same general area. I wouldn't describe these sensations as painful. I would say they are more uncomfortable and almost like an itchy feeling for a split second. In addition, sometimes I feel a "bubbling" sensation in my chest/upper abdomen. I also have been experiencing random increases in heart rate that are exaggerated from going from a sitting position to a standing position. This increase in heart rate seems to come on randomly. The time period when the rate will jump significantly with movement can last anywhere from an hour to a day or days. This could be due to a combination of anxiety and dehydration because I definitely do not drink enough water, but I thought I'd list it. Full disclosure: I have a history of anxiety and panic attacks.  Once this pressure comes on and my heart rate increases, I feel funny and a little disoriented but I think these symptoms are from the panic. I have been to my doctor about this. She has run several tests and does not seem to think it is anything serious. I think her diagnosis is pretty much GERD and indigestion. However, I don't think she has considered a possible blood clot. She has not run a d-dimer test. I have also recently been experiencing this dry, weird feeling in my throat and upper chest that almost feels like I can't breathe. It usually happens when I get up and walk around or do something. It will only last for literally a split second while inhaling, so it may not actually be shortness of breath. Can anyone with personal experience with a pulmonary embolism tell me how similar their symptoms were to mine? I have health anxiety and always freak myself out. I appreciate all positive input. Again, I understand no one on here can actually diagnose me. Thank you!

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Regina,

    Hopefully this will out your mind at rest - I have had PEs and had plenty of symptoms, but almost none like yours.

    Hope that helps.

    Peter

    p.s. I would definitely work on the dehydration, as that can cause all kinds of uncomfortable symptoms.

    P

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Peter, 

      Thank you so much for your reply. I feel like there is something in my left side (chest/upper abdomen) when I move certain ways. The dry feeling when I breathe recently started about 3 days ago, so thats why I've gotten freaked out again. I do appreciate your response! It's nice to know that my symptoms at least aren't similar. I sincerely hope you are doing well since your PEs.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    ?I think I have responded to you previously, GERD... possibly, Panic/ Anxiety... highly possible, but only increased because of new strange feelings , especially tingling, the feeling of not being able to breath. Have you been checked out for angina of any kind or risk factors for a stroke ?  The reason I ask those 2 questions is because that's the pattern of angina and stroke, not necessarily left side for stroke as it can happen on right side as well.

    ?I'd imagine after 3 months of an undiagnosed P E  you would be very ill if not expired. Apart from the chest pains and some dizziness none of your symptoms seem to coincide with a Pulmonary Embolism. Also I'm not a doctor, just a P E patient with angina.

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    • Posted

      Thank you again for your response! I'm sorry for posting again, but I developed this breathing thing which could quite possibly be completely unrelated to that left side feeling. My anxious mind immediately went back to "pulmonary embolism" again. I agree that surely I would be more ill if I'd had a PE this long.

      I do have high blood pressure at the age of 22. I am on Losartan. I've seen a cardiologist and wore a Holter monitor and and had several EKGs and she didn't find any abnormalities. This probably doesn't completely rule out angina or stroke, but nothing  seemed abnormal to the doctor.

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  • Posted

    Maybe have your provider do a lab test called a d-dimer. It's elevated if there are blood clots in the body.

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  • Posted

    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to give an update. I actually developed actual shortness of breath last night and it continued when I woke up this morning and throughout the day. It got to where I could definitely feel it when walking or laughing. I freaked myself out and went to the ER for the second time in my life. They only did a chest X-ray even though I expressed my concerns about PE. They stated (understandably) that if it was PE I would be having other symptoms too like racing heart rate and/or sweating etc. They diagnosed it as costochondritis and prescribed me steroid pills and ibuprofen. I wish they would have done a d-dimer test to rule it out for me since I’m a low probability case, but they were so unconcerned about it that they didn’t do one. I’m hoping the pills they prescribed help! Thanks to everyone who replied!

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      ?Glad they made a diagnosis, I'd just like to mention about the D-dimer blood test, this is unreliable as it can mean many things, if it's extremely way out of range, well, then yes, a doctor can reasonably say there's a clot somewhere. The golden standard test for a pulmonary embolism is a CT scan with a contrast dye.

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  • Posted

    I figured least invasive like labs, EKG, chest xray first. If symptoms warrant going further checking for DVT's or jumping straight to the chest CT with contrast. All considering presenting symptoms.

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  • Posted

    So my right leg has been cramping and achy feeling for the past 3 days after my episode of this weird chest sensation that I’ve been having for a couple months and then the sudden shortness of breath that was diagnosed as costochondritis in ER (only the 2nd time I’ve been to ER in my life, I do have health anxiety but I don’t tend to run to the ER for every thing). So I’ve been on Prednisone since I went to the ER 3 days ago around the time my right leg started feeling weird and cramping/aching in calf area almost right behind my knee. It was not hurting or slightly uncomfortable at the time of my ER visit, so that’s not something I mentioned. It’s not necessarily just hurting in that one spot behind my knee and in calf but that’s the most consistently hurting spot. It is not unbearable by any means but I never have leg cramps, especially not for an extended period of time like this. I tried calling the ER to ask if I came in could I talk to a nurse first to see if this would change the situation to where a d-dimer test or other test would be warranted instead of the diagnosis of costochondritis. However, I’d still have to actually be “admitted” aka be seen literally sitting in the waiting room like last time (I never actually even spoke to a licensed doctor, but I’m sure I’ll have to pay the same rate! 😠wink  and pay the money and then not order any additional tests. Are cramps common with prednisone? Did anyone have DVT along with their PE? Does DVT hurt consistently, not on and off? Mine is fairly constant but it’s not like every single second. There is no swelling or anything like that. I really don’t want to go back to the ER and pay and wait and them not do anything.

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    • Posted

      And again I just want to add the only test they ran was a chest x-ray. I do not think the chest x-ray even showed inflammation. From my understanding (I may be wrong), costochondritis is one of those generic go-too diagnoses when it’s not something they consider serious. Except I’ve read so many stories where this sort of thing wasn’t taken seriously and someone either died or almost died 😩.

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    • Posted

      Get to the ER if your calf muscle is sore, that's how my pulmonary embolisms were found, suspected DVT in left leg, just below knee. If they don't do a D-dimer blood test I'd be asking questions as to why they won't.

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    • Posted

      Swelling is part and parcel with DVT but doesn't always have to be, in answer to your question, if your calf muscle, well any part of your affected leg is hot to touch, there's definitely something  going on in there, yes the calf muscle pain (DVT) is constant and gets worse if it's not a strained muscle.

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