Which physical findings suggest pulmonary venous thromboembolism (VTE)?

Updated: Nov 05, 2020
  • Author: Vera A De Palo, MD, MBA, FCCP; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS  more...
  • Print
Answer

Some patients have signs of DVT, lower-extremity swelling, and tenderness and warmth to touch. Clinical signs of pulmonary thromboembolism also include the following:

  • Tachypnea (respiratory rate exceeding 18 breaths/min) is the most common sign of PE
  • Tachycardia often is present
  • The second heart sound can be accentuated
  • Fever may be present
  • Lung examination findings frequently are normal
  • Cyanosis may be present

In the appropriate clinical setting, when shortness of breath, hypoxemia, and tachycardia are present, there should be a high clinical suspicion of PE until it is ruled out. Timely anticoagulation is important; 5-7% of recurrences are fatal.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!