Pulmonary embolism (PE) should be considered in patients with which risk factors?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020
  • Author: Daniel R Ouellette, MD, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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The following risk factors can be indications for the presence of pulmonary embolism:

  • Venous stasis

  • Hypercoagulable states

  • Immobilization

  • Surgery and trauma

  • Pregnancy

  • Oral contraceptives and estrogen replacement

  • Malignancy

  • Hereditary factors resulting in a hypercoagulable state

  • Acute medical illness

  • Drug abuse (intravenous [IV] drugs)

  • Drug-induced lupus anticoagulant

  • Hemolytic anemias

  • Heparin-associated thrombocytopenia

  • Homocystinemia

  • Homocystinuria

  • Hyperlipidemias

  • Phenothiazines

  • Thrombocytosis

  • Varicose veins

  • Venography

  • Venous pacemakers

  • Warfarin (first few days of therapy)

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

The PIOPED II study listed the following indicators for pulmonary embolism:

  • Travel of 4 hours or more in the past month

  • Surgery within the last 3 months

  • Malignancy, especially lung cancer

  • Current or past history of thrombophlebitis

  • Trauma to the lower extremities and pelvis during the past 3 months

  • Smoking

  • Central venous instrumentation within the past 3 months

  • Stroke, paresis, or paralysis

  • Prior pulmonary embolism

  • Heart failure

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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