Pulmonary embolism (PE) remains one of the most challenging medical diseases in the emergency department. PE is a potentially life threatening diagnosis that is seen in patients with chest pain and/or dyspnea but can span the clinical spectrum of medical presentations. In addition, it does not have any particular clinical feature, laboratory test, or diagnostic modality that can independently and confidently exclude its possibility. This article offers a review of PE in the emergency department. It emphasizes the appropriate determination of pretest probability, the approach to diagnosis and management, and special considerations related to pregnancy and radiation exposure.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.