[Diagnosis of pulmonary embolism].Rev Med Brux. 1999 Jun; 20(3):147-52.RM
A good knowledge of clinical presentation and of risk factors for pulmonary embolism is mandatory to improve adequate clinical suspicion. Some recent improvements in diagnostic strategy have to be emphasized. A low D-dimer level has a good negative predictive value to rule out pulmonary embolism. Ventilation-perfusion lung scan is the most often used imaging technique. In case of non diagnostic scan, serial non invasive search for deep vein thrombosis in the limbs is recommended by some experts at least in patients with good cardio-respiratory reserve, pulmonary angiography being recommended otherwise. Spiral CT allows direct demonstration of clots, being hardly less sensitive than pulmonary angiography except for subsegmental emboli. Future perspectives include the use of spiral CT as first choice procedure, as well as magnetic resonance imaging.