Expert Care for a Dangerous Blood Clot in the Lung

Forty-eight-year-old mother of two Annie Foster Ahmed was playing tennis with her 10-year-old son when she ruptured her Achilles tendon. At the time, she had no way of knowing that this common injury would soon lead to a life-threatening condition.

A little more than a week after her injury, Foster Ahmed, of Derwood, began feeling unwell.

“I walked upstairs and I couldn’t breathe,” she says. “I was crawling up
the steps and dizzy.”

Days later, she lost consciousness in her home and fell to the floor.

Emergency Vascular Care

Foster Ahmed was taken by ambulance to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. Based on her symptoms, emergency physicians quickly began checking for a pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a blockage that is formed when a blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs. They found that Foster Ahmed had developed a large blood clot in her leg, which led to a massive PE.

Jeffrey Wang, M.D., vascular surgeon and medical director of vascular research at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, explained the treatment options—blood thinning medication or intervention—to Foster Ahmed and her husband. The couple chose intervention, a vascular procedure that
only a few physicians and hospitals in the state offer.

“A PE can lead to disability and even death; therefore, it is important to seek emergency medical attention,” Dr. Wang says. “By offering this procedure at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, we are ensuring that our patients are treated as quickly as possible so that they can be restored to health.”

Says Foster Ahmed, “Once we gave the OK for the surgery, they took me in right away. Dr. Wang and the nurses talked me through everything.”

Support After Surgery

As of March, Foster Ahmed no longer had the blood clots in her lungs or leg. She started participating in the new deep vein thrombosis and PE support groups at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, the first of their kind in the area.

“It was interesting to hear the different stories and situations that people had,” Foster Ahmed says. “It was nice to see that it doesn’t just happen to you at a certain age; it can happen out of the blue.”

Of her current lifestyle, she says, “I am paying more attention to my body now and have decided to slow down my life pace. Every day there is a reminder of what happened to me.”