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Pulmonary embolism, pulse deteriorates from physical activity, on coumadin, oxygen saturation decreased on exertion. Why?

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What causes oxygen saturation to decrease on exertion? I had a PE about 2 years ago and I am on Coumadin. No known cause for the PE. I am afraid to exercise due to the shortness of breath. I have a pulse oximeter and check it and it goes down to 92 after mild exertion (stairs). At rest it is 98%.
Posted Wed, 2 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 1 hour later

Thanks for writing to us.

The mild amount of hypoxia is a normal finding on exertion.

This mild hypoxia is a very good stimulus to increase the lung perfusion to fulfill the increased need of oxygen in the body during exertion.

Due to pulmonary embolism and mildly compromised lung function this phenomenon is more pronounced in you causing hypoxia even on climbing stairs. But you should not be worried as it is still within the normal limits.

You can also get yourself evaluated for anaemia as this is also associated with anaemia.

You can indulge in mild exercise and monitor how much time it takes for the oxygen saturation to come back to normal. Gradually your exercise capacity will increase thus increasing your lung perfusion.

I hope my answer and recommendations are adequate and helpful. Waiting for your further follow up queries if any.

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