Pulmonary Embolism Patient Stories

While training for Iron Man, athlete has emergency surgery for pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism patient Kristen Balla with UMMC staff membersKristen was training for her first Iron Man triathlon and went to see her primary care physician after noticing that she was having trouble breathing while exercising, a common symptom of a pulmonary embolism. Her doctor performed an echocardiogram and discovered that Kristen’s heart rate was unusually low. 

Kristen was advised to follow-up with a cardiologist for further tests, but was not under the impression that her low heart rate was anything to seriously worry about. During her training, she injured her leg with a “pulled muscle” and placed in a splint.

Kristen drove up to Baltimore just two days later. Aside from feeling unusually fatigued, Kristen had an enjoyable evening downtown catching up with her childhood friend. The next morning, however, Kristen’s condition worsened very quickly. Kristen lost consciousness in the hotel room where she and her friend were staying, and she was immediately transported via ambulance to the emergency room at UMMC.

Click here for Kristen's full story.


Pulmonary embolism leads to emergency surgery on Christmas Day

Like many, Martin Hill of Hanover, Md., was caught up in the rush of the holiday season. A husband, father of four and grandfather, Martin didn’t know what to think when he suddenly had trouble breathing while out shopping in the days before Christmas. The episodes were enough to startle him, but sitting down and resting for a few minutes seemed to help.

What Martin did not realize at the time was that these episodes were symptoms of a pulmonary embolus, a blood clot that blocks an artery in the lungs.

Click here to read Martin's story.