Role of helical CT in detecting right ventricular dysfunction secondary to acute pulmonary embolism

J Comput Assist Tomogr. 2002 Jul-Aug;26(4):587-91. doi: 10.1097/00004728-200207000-00020.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of helical CT in detecting right ventricular dysfunction (RVD) after acute pulmonary embolism (PE).

Methods: This was a retrospective study consisting of 25 patients with CT scans positive for acute pulmonary embolism who had either follow-up echocardiography (23 patients) or pulmonary angiography (2 patients). CT scans were reviewed for findings suggestive of RVD. Scans were considered positive for RVD if the right ventricle (RV) was dilated or if the interventricular septum was deviated towards the left ventricle. Results were then correlated with the results of echocardiography or pulmonary angiography to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of CT in detecting RVD associated with PE.

Results: Within this group of 25 patients with PE, CT demonstrated sensitivity of 78% (7/9), specificity of 100% (16/16), and positive predictive value of 100% (7/7) in detection of RVD.

Conclusion: CT may be useful in detecting RVD in patients with acute PE.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Angiography
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Septum / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / diagnostic imaging*