WHEN IS IT AN EMERGENCY?
If you find yourself in the midst of an immediate emergency, call 911. Tell them you have a life-threatening emergency and ask them to dispatch an ambulance immediately.
Immediate emergencies for PH patients include:
- Chest pain.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Coughing up blood.
- Worsening shortness of breath.
If you have low oxygen saturation. It’s important to know your normal range of oxygen saturation. If your oxygen saturation drops below your normal range, and you experience any of these symptoms, seek care immediately:
- Unusual shortness of breath.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Blue lips, fingernails or earlobes
If you are on intravenous medication and your catheter comes out or cracks, or your pump stops working. Flolan and Veletri each have a half-life of between two and a half and six minutes. That means the amount of medicine in your body decreases by half in just a couple of minutes. If you stop the medicine for more than a few minutes, it can be fatal. IV Remodulin has a half-life of between two and four hours. While the half-life is longer, you should still treat this as an immediate emergency. Learn more
Any emergency situations outlined in advance by your PH doctor. Talk to your medical team in advance about any additional situations that might constitute immediate, life-threatening emergencies given your individual health status and treatment plan.
Not all medical situations that take you off guard will require a trip to the hospital. If you’re not sure if you’re experiencing an emergency situation, call your doctor or clinic and talk to someone as quickly as possible. Give brief, concise information and answer all questions carefully. Based on the information you provide, the medical professional may call in a prescription, refer you to another doctor, ask you to come into the hospital or ask you to hang up and call 911.
Possible emergencies include:
- High or prolonged fever, especially if you have a central line catheter
- Fainting or near-fainting
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats
- Unusual (for you) fluid retention
- Dark, tarry stool if you are on blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin)