Pulmonary embolism

Symptoms of pulmonary embolism

The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism can sometimes be difficult to recognise because they can vary between different people. 

The main symptoms are chest pain, feeling short of breath, coughing and feeling faint or even passing out.

If you or someone you care for has a combination of these symptoms:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing, including coughing up blood
  • feeling dizzy or faint

Don’t delay: call 999 for an ambulance.

A blood clot in your leg can break off and travel to your lungs, so other warning signs could include a painful, red or swollen leg. Ask your doctor or go to A&E in these circumstances.

Next: Diagnosing pulmonary embolism >

Download our pulmonary embolism PDF (266KB)

Last medically reviewed: March 2015. Due for review: March 2018

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.