Clinical Value of Ultrasonography in Diagnosis of Pulmonary Embolism in Critically Ill Patients

J Transl Int Med. 2017 Dec 29;5(4):200-204. doi: 10.1515/jtim-2017-0034. eCollection 2017 Dec.


Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a clinical emergency that will increase the mortality if complicated with unstable hemodynamics. Because of its nonspecific clinical symptoms, it's a great challenge to make a PE diagnosis. The golden standard to diagnose PE is computed tomography of pulmonary artery (CTPA), but a diagnosis of PE also composed of evaluation of PE risk factors, possibilities, and risk stratification. Ultrasonography may detect right ventricle strain related to hemodynamic change, intravascular thrombosis, thrombosis in right heart or pulmonary arteries, pulmonary infarction, and local pleural effusion. Combination of ultrasound and traditional PE possibility evaluation score may further improve the pretest probability of CTPA. A comprehensive ultrasonography may sometimes rule out PE and may disclose other causes for the clinical situations. A heart-lung-vessel-integrated multiorgan ultrasonography can help with the diagnosis of PE and so should be a necessary weapon for the physicians.

Keywords: critical care medicine; pulmonary embolism; ultrasonography.