Blood clot called a ‘silent killer’ in singer’s death

December 27, 2011

IN THE NEWS:  UC Irvine’s Dr. Matthew Butteri addressed the damage a pulmonary embolism could cause in a Los Angeles Times article about the autopsy report for rapper Heavy D. The rapper died last month of a blood clot to the lung that was likely formed during a long flight home from London:

Frequently described as the “silent killer,” a pulmonary embolism is the medical term for a blood clot in the lung. A blockage typically forms in the legs. During long periods of inactivity, the clot can break off and travel to the lung, where it can become fatal if not treated immediately, said Butteri, who specializes in internal medicine at UC Irvine Medical Center.

“It’s the equivalent of a heart attack,” Butteri said. “Just like when you have a blockage in your coronary arteries and you have a heart attack. Well, this is an infarction in your lungs, so it’s really a lung attack because the blood clot is preventing getting oxygen to critical lung tissue.”

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