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Cardiovascular system



pulmonary embolism

Risk factors for pulmonary embolism (PE) include:

  1. venous stasis
  2. intimal injury (trauma, phlebitis)
  3. Hypercoaguable states

Physical findings, EKG changes and blood-gas values are suggestive of PE, but are not specific. Thus, radiologic examinations play an important role in establishing the diagnosis.

The diagnostic work-up includes:

  • chest xray
    • findings are usually nonspecific
    • other abnormalities may reduce V/Q scans diagnostic value
  • pulmonary ventilation and perfusion ("V/Q") scan
  • contrast enhanced CT of the chest
    • spiral or helical thin cuts during a contrast bolus timed for maximal pulmonary artery oppacification
  • possibly pulmonary angiogram
  • doppler ultrasound of the deep venous system
    • symptoms of DVT
    • very sugestive history with a negative work up

Charles E. Kahn, Jr., MD  -  2 February 1995
Last updated:  1 October 2013


Related CHORUS documents:
pulmonary embolism: findings
knuckle sign
Westermark sign
pulmonary embolism
Hampton hump
melting sign


Copyright © 2013, Charles E. Kahn, Jr.