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Bleeding and Clotting Disorders

How long is the pain going to last?

12/18/2008

Question:

I am a 38year old female, smoked for about 6 years but quit a year ago and am other wise healthy. I was having chest pains for about 3 weeks and then became short of breath for about 3 days before I went to my doctor and was hospitalized for a pulmonary embolism. I spent 5 days in the hospital while getting diagnosed (cat scans, blood work, sonograms of my legs, etc..) and while i was there did not have alot of pain (i was completely at rest). Now that i am out and back at work, after about 3 hours of being awake the pain when i breathe starts, and by the end of the day i`m totally exhausted by the constant pain when i inhale. My doctor has prescribed the RX of Naproxen to take on top of the Vicoprofen and I also take Warfarin daily. He says the pain won`t last much longer (i was told 7 to 14 days) but it has been about 4 weeks of pain when i breathe. Should i try to wait it out or should i seek a second opinion?

Answer:

It is really not possible to comment on the specifics of your case without having the chance to talk with you and examine you, but you doctor is correct that there may be some pain, especially with exertion that can be present as your body is healing from the PE.

If you think the pain is really not steadily improving, or is concerning to you, I would tell you to discuss this issue further with your doctor. Sometimes repeat imaging studies of the chest and/legs can be done to make sure that there are no new clots or progressive clots.

For more information:

Go to the Bleeding and Clotting Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Spero R Cataland, MD Spero R Cataland, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University