Pulmonary embolism: an unsuspected killer.

Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.
Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 0.83). 12/2004; 22(4):961-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.emc.2004.05.011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The presentation of PE is often subtle and may mimic other diseases. Many pulmonary emboli invariably preclude diagnosis by their occult nature or by leading to rapid death from cardiopulmonary arrest. In patients who do manifest symptoms from PE, accurate diagnosis is essential. Often it is difficult to distinguish the vague symptoms of PE from other diagnoses, such as acute coronary syndrome, pneumonia, COPD, CHF,aortic dissection, myocarditis or pericarditis, pneumothorax, and musculo-skeletal or gastrointestinal causes. Regardless of the presentation, the most fundamental step in making the diagnosis of PE is first to consider it. Historical clues and risk factors should raise the clinician's suspicion.PE is an unsuspected killer with a nebulous presentation and high mortality. In all likelihood, PE will remain an elusive diagnosis despite advances in technology and a wealth of research. A high index of suspicion is required, but no amount of suspicion would eliminate all missed cases. Patients with significant underlying cardiopulmonary disease seem to be the most challenging. Patients with significant comorbidity have poor reserve and are likely to have poor outcomes, especially if the diagnosis is not made and anticoagulation is not initiated early. Controversy exists over the best diagnostic approach to PE. A battery of diagnostic studies is available, with few providing definitive answers. Studies such as CT may be helpful at some institutions but offer poor predictive value at others. Other diagnostic tests are not universally available. It is hoped that further research and improvements in current diagnostic modalities will clear some of the current confusion and controversy of this ubiquitous and deadly disease.

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    ABSTRACT: Three-dimensional contrast-enhanced MR pulmonary angiography (MRPA) is a suitable option for pulmonary embolism (PE) detection. However, there have been few reports on the diagnostic accuracy of MRPA for PE detection in a 3-T MR system. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of MRPA in a 3-T MR system to detect acute PE with multidetector CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) as reference standard. Twenty-seven patients (18 males and 9 females, mean age 38.9±14.4years) underwent both MRPA and CTPA within 3days (range, 0-3days) for evaluating PE. Pulmonary emboli in MRPA were independently analyzed on a per-patient and per-lobe basis by two radiologists. CTPA was regarded as reference standard, which was evaluated by another two radiologists in consensus. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy for PE detection were calculated. Weighted κ values were calculated to evaluate agreement between readers. Twenty-four patients had PE in 55 lung lobes in CTPA, while 3 patients had no PE detected. Readers 1 and 2 correctly detected 47 and 46 lung lobes having clots in 24 and 23 patients, corresponding to sensitivities, specificities, PPV, NPV, and accuracies of 100%, 100%, 100%, 100%, 100%; 100%, 66.7%, 96.0%, 100%, 96.4% on a per-patient basis and 85.5%, 100%, 100%, 90.9%, 94.1%; 83.6%, 93.7%, 90.2%, 89.2%, 89.6% on a per-lobe basis; respectively. Excellent inter-reader agreement (κ values=1.00 and 0.934; both P<0.001) were found for detecting PE on a per-patient and per-lobe analysis. Three-dimensional contrast-enhanced MRPA with a 3-T MR system is a suitable alternative modality to CTPA to detect PE on a per-patient basis based on this small cohort study.
    International journal of cardiology 08/2013; · 6.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction No data are available on thromboprophylaxis use in Morocco. Our aim was to characterize patients at risk of venous thromboembolism and assess the rate of appropriate thromboprophylaxis. Materials and Methods This was a national, observational, multicentre survey of venous thromboembolism risk and thromboprophylaxis use in hospitalized patients. Data were collected on a predefined date in three university hospitals in Morocco using a standardized pre-printed form. Thromboembolic risk was assessed according to the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) 2008 guidelines. Patients were classified as “thromboprophylaxis indicated” or “thromboprophylaxis not indicated”. Results 784 patients were analysed: 307 (39.2%) medical and 477 (60.8%) surgical. 421 (53.7%) were female. Medical patients were older than surgical patients (57.6 ± 11.5 vs. 46.2 ± 16.9 years, p < 0.0001) and were more likely to have risk factors for thromboembolism (50.5% vs. 45.7% of patients, p = NS). 57% of patients without contraindications or bleeding risk were at risk of thromboembolism according to ACCP guidelines and thromboprophylaxis was prescribed to 42.8% of these patients. In contrast, 7.4% of patients with no thromboembolic risk also received thromboprophylaxis (proportion agreement: 61.0%; Kappa = 0.296). Over half (54.5%) of medical patients at risk of thromboembolism did not receive thromboprophylaxis whereas 6.3% of those with no risk did receive it (proportion agreement: 76.4%; Kappa = 0.433). These figures were 57.9% and 9.2%, respectively, for surgical patients (proportion agreement: 52.7%; Kappa = 0.191). Thromboprophylaxis was given to 19.2% of patients with contraindications or a bleeding risk. Conclusions Educational initiatives are imperative to inform doctors about appropriate thromboprophylaxis.
    Thrombosis Research 01/2014; · 3.13 Impact Factor


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