A pulmonary embolism is a dangerous condition where a blood clot travels from a large vein in the body and lodges in the lungs. Though statistics are uncertain, the CDC believes that about 900,000 people in the United States develop a pulmonary embolism every year. Between 60,000 and 100,000 people die of it. This is a significant portion of the United States population. About a quarter of the people who develop a pulmonary embolism die immediately, while 10 to 30 percent of patients die within a month after being diagnosed.
Information. People can be born with a genetic tendency toward developing a pulmonary embolism. This is about 5 to 8 percent of the United States population. Pulmonary embolisms are dangerous because they can damage the lungs and interfere with the level of oxygen in the blood. Because of this, they can cause damage to the other organs of the body, including the brain. Embolisms can be life threatening if they are large or if there are many of them. A pulmonary embolism is most often a blood clot, but it can also be an air bubble, fat, bacteria or a piece of a tumor. However, these types of embolisms are rare.