How long for Pulmonary embolism to resolve?

Nurses General Nursing


This is probably a reeeeealy stupid question, but I am working on this care plan and struggling with my STO and LTO. They told us this would be difficult because of our lack of experience. Anyway, what would be a reasonable timeframe for resolution of impaired gas exchange r/t pulmonary embolism? Or is there such a thing--maybe I am totally on the wrong track wouldn't be the first time! :roll :roll

Thanks for any help or guidance--I am feeling really inadequate here!

Carol (RN 2B Dec 2003)


735 Posts

The client will experience adequate O2/CO2 exchange as evidenced by:

usual mental status

unlabored respirations at 12 - 20/minute

oximetry results within normal range

blood gases within normal range.


Assess for and report signs and symptoms of impaired gas exchange:

restlessness, irritability

confusion, somnolence

tachypnea, dyspnea

significant decrease in oximetry results

decreased PaO2 and/or increased PaCO2

central cyanosis (a late sign).

Implement measures to improve gas exchange:

maintain client on bed rest to reduce oxygen demands during acute respiratory distress; increase activity gradually as allowed and tolerated

maintain oxygen therapy as ordered

perform actions to improve breathing pattern

discourage smoking (the carbon monoxide in smoke decreases oxygen availability and the nicotine can cause vasoconstriction and further reduce pulmonary blood flow)

perform actions to improve pulmonary blood flow:

administer anticoagulants (e.g. continuous intravenous heparin, warfarin) as ordered

Consult appropriate health care provider (e.g. respiratory therapist, physician) if signs and symptoms of impaired gas exchange persist or worsen.

Specializes in Med-Surg.

Thank you so much Rusty! I was on the right track I think--from what you posted at least! My instructor may think otherwise :chuckle


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