Although PE is the most common preventable cause of death among U.S. hospital patients, proper treatment of thromboembolism and adequate prophylaxis in high-risk patients have been shown to be effective in saving lives. Because clinical symptoms and signs of thromboembolic disease are often nonspecific, early diagnosis and treatment rely on the capacity of physicians to adequately identify a patient at risk, choose the appropriate diagnostic modalities in a cost-effective fashion, and promptly initiate treatment. The diagnosis of VTE is particularly challenging in patients who are in the post acute period of a complex medical or surgical illness. Avenues that need to be further explored include various diagnostic tests such as spiral CT, MR imaging, and transesophageal echocardiography, which are less invasive than the present gold standard of pulmonary angiography. Also needed are better clinical data regarding the optimal choice of preventive therapy (e.g., unfragmented heparin or LMWH or mechanical devices) and clinical outcome of such therapy in patients with prolonged illness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine