Intraluminal Arterial Filling Defects Misdiagnosed as Pulmonary Emboli: What Else Could They Be?

Clin Chest Med. 2018 Sep;39(3):505-513. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2018.04.004.


Pulmonary artery filling defects can be observed in various pathologic processes other than pulmonary embolism, for example, nonthrombotic pulmonary embolism with biological and nonbiological materials and intrinsic pulmonary artery lesions. They have also been described in rare conditions, such as fibrosing mediastinitis and congenital absence or stenosis of pulmonary artery, and some pulmonary parenchymal and airway malignancies. Misdiagnosis is common owing to the relative rarity of these conditions. Correct diagnosis is based on the appropriate clinical suspicion considering the unique clinical features, laboratory findings, and additional radiologic clues inferring a pathology other than pulmonary embolism.

Keywords: Amniotic fluid embolism; Cement embolism; Computed tomography angiography; Nonthrombotic pulmonary embolism; Pulmonary artery sarcoma; Pulmonary hypertension; Stenosis or obstruction; Tumor embolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Artery / abnormalities*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*