MDCT of 220 consecutive patients with suspected acute pulmonary embolism: incidence of pulmonary embolism and of other acute or non-acute thoracic findings

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Information Services, Academic Computing Services; Department of Cell Biology; Department of Radiology



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Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Female; Humans; Incidence; Italy; Lung Diseases; Male; Middle Aged; Predictive Value of Tests; Pulmonary Embolism; Radiographic Image Enhancement; Retrospective Studies; Sensitivity and Specificity; Tomography, Spiral Computed


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Technology and Innovation


PURPOSE: This study was undertaken to evaluate the incidence of pulmonary embolism (PE) and other clinically relevant thoracic findings discovered on contrast-enhanced multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) examination in patients with a suspicion of acute PE.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 220 reports of 40-row MDCT exams in consecutive patients (101 men, 119 women; mean age 55 years+/-18) suspected for acute PE. Presenting symptoms and risk factors were recorded. Image quality and incidence of PE and other clinically relevant thoracic findings were evaluated.

RESULTS: MDCT were diagnostic in 96.8% of patients. Nineteen patients (8.6%) were positive for PE. Signs and symptoms were present in 82.7% (182) and risk factors in 38.2% (84) of the population. Clinically relevant thoracic findings were detected in 45.9% (101) of the patients. Ten patients had PE and other thoracic findings. Half of the patients (110) had neither PE nor other clinically relevant thoracic findings.

CONCLUSIONS: Chest MDCT, with an excellent overall image quality, provided an explanation for the clinical presentation in about 50% of emergency department patients studied and was useful in detecting PE and other thoracic diseases with symptoms mimicking PE. However, half of the exams were negative.

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Citation: Radiol Med. 2008 Apr;113(3):373-84. Epub 2008 Jul 9. Link to article on publisher's site

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