The dangers of an embolism
An embolism is a blocked artery caused by a foreign body, such as a blood clot or an air bubble.
The body’s tissues and organs need oxygen, which is transported around the body in the bloodstream.
If the blood supply to a major organ – such as the brain, heart or lungs – is blocked, the organ will lose some or all of its function.
Two of the most serious conditions caused by an embolism are a stroke (where the blood supply to the brain is cut off) or a pulmonary embolism (where a foreign body blocks the artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs iethe pulmonary artery).
The symptoms of an embolism depend on the particular type of embolism involved.
The main symptoms of a stroke are drooping of the face, weakness or numbness in one arm, and slurred speech or an inability to talk at all.
If you have a pulmonary embolism you’ll have a sharp or stabbing chest pain that starts suddenly or comes on gradually. Shortness of breath, a cough and feeling faint or dizzy, or passing out are also common symptoms.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (sometimes doesn’t cause any symptoms. However, symptoms can include pain, swelling and tenderness in one of your legs (usually your calf), a heavy ache in the affected area, warm skin in the area of the clot and red skin, particularly at the back of your leg below the knee.
Get immediate medical help if you have pain, swelling and tenderness in your leg and you develop breathlessness and chest pain.
You may have a DVT that’s developed into a pulmonary embolism.
Divers should always be carefully monitored by their colleagues and supervisors so any air or gas embolism can be identified and treated immediately.