Diagnostic management of acute deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism

J Thromb Haemost. 2013 Mar;11(3):412-22. doi: 10.1111/jth.12124.


Acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) represent two expressions of a similar clinical pathological process, often referred to as venous thromboembolism (VTE). It has long been recognized that, as clinical signs and symptoms of PE and DVT are not specific for the diagnosis, objective diagnosis in both patients presenting with leg symptoms and those with chest symptoms is mandatory. Since the last review on this subject in this journal in 2009, several large trials have been performed that shed new light on all aspects of the diagnostic management of suspected VTE, especially in the field of simplified clinical decision rules, age-dependent D-dimer cut-offs and magnetic resonance imaging. A literature search covering the period 2007-2012 was performed using the Medline/PubMed database to identify all relevant papers regarding the diagnostic management of acute PE and DVT. Established concepts and the latest evidence on this subject will be the main focus of this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Algorithms
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / analysis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Phlebography / methods
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism / blood
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography / methods
  • Venous Thromboembolism / blood
  • Venous Thromboembolism / diagnosis*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / therapy*
  • Venous Thrombosis / blood
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnosis*
  • Venous Thrombosis / therapy*


  • Biomarkers
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D