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Cramped conditions can cause blood clot

Times wire services
Published April 8, 2003

David Bloom, an NBC News correspondent covering the war with Iraq as an embedded journalist, died of a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot in the lungs - Sunday morning. It wasn't clear Monday what caused the clot. But he had spent long hours riding and sleeping in cramped military vehicles and reportedly had complained of cramps behind his left knee three days before his death. Medical authorities say long trips in tightly confined spaces can lead to a blood clot that can travel to the lungs.

nt face=Arial size=3 class=subhed>Q: What is a pulmonary embolism?

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in an artery in the lungs. It is caused by a free-floating blood clot that typically travels from the leg or the pelvic area to the lungs.

Q: What are the signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism?

They depend on a number of factors, including the location of the blockage and the size of the area affected by the lack of blood supply.

Q: What might the symptoms include?

Sudden, unexplained shortness of breath, chest pains when you inhale, feeling faint, coughing up blood-stained phlegm and a rapid pulse.

Q: When are you at risk?

If you have a blood clot in the deep veins of the legs.

After prolonged bed rest (i.e., during a lengthy illness).

After a major surgical procedure.

After prolonged sitting (i.e., during a long trip by car, bus, plane, or train).

After an injury to a vein in the legs or pelvis

During pregnancy.

- Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

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