What are DVT and PE? Symptoms


I was taking a nap one day when I was awakened by a sharp pain in my left leg. I thought it was a charley horse.”

— Debi

What does DVT or PE feel like?

Some DVTs can be very painful, while others cause no pain at all. Most people experience some degree of pain and swelling with DVT. The most common symptoms include:

  • Recent swelling of the affected limb
  • Unexplained pain or tenderness
  • Skin that may be warm to the touch
  • Redness of the skin in the affected limb

But since the symptoms of DVT can be similar to other conditions—like a pulled or strained muscle, a cramp or charley horse, or having slept in an awkward position—and because some people with DVT don’t experience any symptoms, there’s often a delay in diagnosis. And that’s when DVT can be fatal.

PE Symptoms

When the clot moves into the lungs, it becomes a dangerous PE that can be fatal. Symptoms can include:

  • Recent or sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, pressure or discomfort that usually worsens with a deep breath or coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sudden collapse

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.