Suspected pulmonary embolism: prevalence and anatomic distribution in 487 consecutive patients. Advances in New Technologies Evaluating the Localisation of Pulmonary Embolism (ANTELOPE) Group

Radiology. 2000 Apr;215(1):184-8. doi: 10.1148/radiology.215.1.r00ap22184.


Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence and anatomic distribution of pulmonary embolism (PE) in a group of consecutive patients clinically suspected of having PE.

Materials and methods: Four hundred eighty-seven consecutive patients clinically suspected of having PE were examined in six Dutch hospitals from May 1997 through March 1998. Patients underwent ventilation-perfusion (V-P) scintigraphy, spiral computed tomographic (CT) angiography, and/or digital subtraction pulmonary angiography according to a strict diagnostic protocol. Independent readers reviewed all of the diagnostic image studies in centralized readings. The largest pulmonary arterial branch in which PE was detected was recorded.

Results: The prevalence of PE was 27% (130 of 487 patients). There was a significant difference in PE size between the high-probability and nondiagnostic V-P scans: The high-probability scans tended to depict larger emboli, but they also showed small subsegmental emboli. Twenty-nine (22%) of 130 patients had subsegmental PE; 23 of these 29 patients had a high-probability V-P scan.

Conclusion: The largest pulmonary arterial branch with PE was central or lobar in 66 (51%), segmental in 35 (27%), and isolated subsegmental in 29 (22%) patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Angiography / methods
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Prevalence
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / pathology
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio