Pulmonary embolism and infarction

Pulmonary embolic phenomena are frequent complications of prolonged bed rest and are often a diagnostic conundrum. The chest radiograph is neither sensitive nor specific in the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism, but Doppler ultrasound may be used in evaluation of thrombosis of the veins of the lower extremities.

Ventilation-perfusion nuclear medicine lung scans are useful in the evaluation of possible pulmonary embolism, and, where available, perfusion scans can be obtained at the bedside. CT also can detect proximal pulmonary emboli and may prove useful in some high-risk patients. However, conventional selective pulmonary angiography remains the gold standard in the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism.

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