National Guideline Clearinghouse, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

The clinical signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism as well as routine laboratory tests do not confirm or exclude a diagnosis of acute PE; rather, they will only increase the suspicion that PE is present in a patient. A negative D-dimer result excludes PE in patients with low to moderate clinical probability. Compression Ultrasonography can be used as a backup procedure to reduce a false-negative rate if a patient has undergone testing via single-detector computed tomography.

Perfusion scans are also safe ways of excluding pulmonary embolism. A combination of a ventilation-perfusion scintigraphy can help diagnose PE with a very high degree of accuracy, but sometimes further testing will be needed on certain patients. A pulmonary angiography is quite reliable, but rather invasive as a testing mechanism yet is useful when the results of non-invasive tests are inconclusive. If an angiography is performed, direct hemodynamic measures should be performed as well.

The above measures have been found to be the best tests to determine pulmonary embolism in patients when an acute even is suspected due to the fact routine tests are not going to point to this problem. It is important for physicians who suspect pulmonary embolism to order these special tests immediately in order to decrease the mortality of affected patients and increase the quality of life after the acute event has passed. With the proper intervention and therapy, patients are normally able to return to a relatively standard pattern of life.

Reference

Task Force for the Diagnosis and Management of Acute Pulmonary Embolism. (2000). Guidelines on the diagnosis and management of acute pulmonary embolism. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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