What percentage of hospitalized patients have pulmonary embolism (PE)?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020
  • Author: Daniel R Ouellette, MD, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Pulmonary embolism is present in 60-80% of patients with DVT, even though more than half these patients are asymptomatic. Pulmonary embolism is the third most common cause of death in hospitalized patients, with at least 650,000 cases occurring annually. Autopsy studies have shown that approximately 60% of patients who have died in the hospital had pulmonary embolism, with the diagnosis having been missed in up to 70% of the cases. Prospective studies have demonstrated DVT in 10-13% of all medical patients placed on bed rest for 1 week, 29-33% of all patients in medical intensive care units, 20-26% of patients with pulmonary diseases who are given bed rest for 3 or more days, 27-33% of patients admitted to a critical care unit after a myocardial infarction, and 48% of patients who are asymptomatic after a coronary artery bypass graft.

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