Most times, a pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots that travel from the legs or, rarely, other parts of the body (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT).
Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough.
Prompt treatment to break up the clot greatly reduces the risk of death. This can be done with blood thinners and drugs or procedures. Compression stockings and physical activity can help prevent clots from forming in the first place.