Which clinical history findings are characteristic of venous thromboembolism (VTE)?

Updated: Nov 05, 2020
  • Author: Vera A De Palo, MD, MBA, FCCP; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS, FAOA, FABOS, FAAOS  more...
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With pulmonary embolism (PE), the patient often experiences acute onset of shortness of breath; sometimes the patient even pinpoints the moment of distress. Complaints related to signs of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), lower-extremity swelling, and warmth to touch or tenderness may be present. Dyspnea is the most frequent symptom of PE.

With a smaller PE near the pleura, the patient may complain of pleuritic chest pain, cough, or hemoptysis. Sometimes, massive PE can present with syncope. The patient may have a sense of impending doom, with apprehension and anxiety. History may reveal the presence of one or more causes or risk factors.

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