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Pulmonary artery blockage. Gross clinical specimen of a thrombus (blood clot, beige, centre) blocking the pulmonary artery in the lung. This blockage (embolism) prevents the flow of blood to the lungs, which can be quickly fatal. Smaller blockages may cause chest pain of shortness of breath. Thrombi are most likely to travel to the lungs from a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the legs. DVT can be caused by slow blood flow in the blood vessels of the legs, usually resulting from a long period of inactivity. If the pulmonary embolism does not cause death, it may be treated with anticoagulant drugs to break up the clot, or surgical removal of the blockage.
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