The role of cardiovascular ultrasound in diagnosis and management of pulmonary embolism

Future Cardiol. 2017 Sep;13(5):465-477. doi: 10.2217/fca-2017-0037. Epub 2017 Aug 23.


The diagnosis of acute pulmonary embolism (PE) is one of the most important problems in medical emergencies. Commonly accepted criterion for diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis is the lack of vein compressibility assessed by Compression UltraSonography. Echocardiography represents an easily available and reliable imaging technique in the clinical setting of hemodynamic instability and in the direct visualization of thromboembolic masses in the right heart chambers. Moreover, echocardiography is useful for prognostic stratification after acute PE as right ventricular dysfunction is the most important predictor of mortality in this context. This review aims to highlight usefulness, potentialities and perspectives of standard and advanced echocardiography in evaluating patients affected by PE.

Keywords: echocardiography; pulmonary embolism; real-time three-dimensional echocardiography; right ventricle; speckle tracking echocardiography.