Availability of diagnostic facilities in the Netherlands for patients with suspected pulmonary embolism

University of Amsterdam, Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
The Netherlands Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.97). 10/2000; 57(4):142-149. DOI: 10.1016/S0300-2977(00)00036-X


Pulmonary embolism remains a complex diagnostic problem. Although accurate and cost-effective, the ‘Dutch consensus’ strategy is not widely applied. We assessed the availability and investment plans of the different facilities used in this strategy. Furthermore, the current and future availability of new diagnostic modalities was investigated. A questionnaire was sent to all Dutch hospitals. The questionnaire contained separate sections with questions for the hospital management and the medical practitioners at the departments of radiology, nuclear medicine, internal medicine and pulmonology. Five hundred and eighty-four questionnaires were sent out (response rate 68%). Forty-three percent of the hospitals had no nuclear medicine facility, 11% had no pulmonary angiography facility, and 59% had no spiral CT scan (SCTA). Forty-six percent of the responding hospitals had a nuclear medicine facility; and 5% used Technegas for ventilation studies. Strategies with SCTA were available in about 27% of the hospitals. Due to future investments this number will increase to approximately 55%. Strategies with Technegas were available in 2.4% of the hospitals, this number might increase to 25% if Technegas is proven accurate. The ‘Dutch consensus’ strategy is available in two-thirds of the hospitals. All other strategies were less feasible. Several equivalent strategies for diagnosing pulmonary embolism should be developed. These strategies should be accurate, widely available and accepted.

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    ABSTRACT: In The Netherlands, the 'Dutch consensus strategy' was formulated in 1993 as a diagnostic strategy for patients with suspected pulmonary embolism. Four years after its introduction, the application of this strategy was investigated. A questionnaire was sent to the hospital management and the departments of internal medicine and pulmonology of all Dutch hospitals. In total, 384 questionnaires were sent out. The response rates of the internists and pulmonologists were 63 and 65%, respectively. The specialists reported to have followed the consensus strategy in 75% of the patients seen the month prior to the questionnaire. However, analysis of only the last patient with the suspicion of pulmonary embolism revealed that the consensus strategy was followed in 55 of the 162 patients. As well, an overuse and an underuse of the different diagnostic facilities was documented. Furthermore almost a quarter of the patients were treated without an ascertained diagnosis, whereas 11% were not treated despite an improper exclusion of venous thrombo-embolism. Compared to a survey in 1994, the use of the 'Dutch consensus strategy' has not improved dramatically. In 34% of the patients, the consensus strategy was strictly followed (i.e. without any additional investigation); however in 67% of the patients a proper diagnosis was achieved. In any diagnostic strategy, two aspects should be considered. First the availability of the different facilities. Second the acceptance of the strategy by the physicians, involved in the diagnosis of patients with clinically suspected pulmonary embolism.
    The Netherlands Journal of Medicine 11/2001; 59(4):161-9. DOI:10.1016/S0300-2977(01)00154-1 · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: From 1979 to 2001, the proportion of imaging tests by computed tomography (CT), ventilation perfusion (VQ) lung scan, pulmonary angiography, and venous ultrasound was assessed in patients with pulmonary embolism (PE) from the National Hospital Discharge Survey. By 2001, there was a higher proportion of imaging tests with CT than VQ scans (36% vs 32%). Even so, in the United States, a large proportion of patients continued to have VQ scans.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Diagnosing or excluding pulmonary embolism is a complex challenge. Many diagnostic instruments can be used in patients with clinically suspected pulmonary embolism nowadays, all with their own (dis-)advantages. Methods/objectives: In this review, these (dis-)advantages are discussed for the following diagnostic instruments: clinical probability assessment, D-dimer concentration, the combination of clinical probability assessment and D-dimer concentration, bilateral compression ultrasonography, ventilation/perfusion scintigraphy, computerized tomographic pulmonary angiography, pulmonary angiography and magnetic resonance pulmonary angiography. A diagnostic strategy, which can be adjusted to local facilities, is provided and discussed. Conclusion: Using combinations of some of these diagnostic tools, many diagnostic strategies are possible and every hospital should make its own local protocol suited for the local situation.
    Expert Opinion on Medical Diagnostics 02/2008; 2(2):171-81. DOI:10.1517/17530059.2.2.171