What is the role of pulmonary angiography in the workup 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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Pulmonary angiography has long been the diagnostic criterion standard. Angiography allows for the visualization of the pulmonary vasculature with contrast agents, and in the event of PE, it evidences the cutoff of a vein and a lack of flow to the affected area.

It is an invasive procedure that requires the administration of IV contrast material, and it is more expensive than other procedures.

Pulmonary angiography leads to increased morbidity in approximately 2-5% of patients; this is related to bleeding and to complications from the use of IV contrast agents. Mortality occurs in fewer than 1% of patients in whom this procedure is performed.

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