Which tests are performed in the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE)?

Updated: Jun 06, 2019
  • Author: Daniel R Ouellette, MD, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Perform diagnostic testing on symptomatic patients with suspected pulmonary embolism to confirm or exclude the diagnosis or until an alternative diagnosis is found. Routine laboratory findings are nonspecific and are not helpful in pulmonary embolism, although they may suggest another diagnosis.

A hypercoagulation workup should be performed if no obvious cause for embolic disease is apparent, including screening for conditions such as the following:

  • Antithrombin III deficiency

  • Protein C or protein S deficiency

  • Lupus anticoagulant

  • Homocystinuria

  • Occult neoplasm

  • Connective tissue disorders

Potentially useful laboratory tests in patients with suspected pulmonary embolism include the following:

  • D-dimer testing

  • Ischemia-modified albumin level

  • White blood cell count

  • Arterial blood gases:

  • Serum troponin levels

  • Brain natriuretic peptide


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