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.

DOI of Published Version



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

Journal/Book/Conference Title

La Radiologia medica

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