What is the incidence of physical signs in 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

In patients with recognized pulmonary embolism, the incidence of physical signs has been reported as follows:

  • Tachypnea (respiratory rate >16/min) - 96%

  • Rales - 58%

  • Accentuated second heart sound - 53%

  • Tachycardia (heart rate >100/min) - 44%

  • Fever (temperature >37.8°C [100.04ºF]) - 43%

  • Diaphoresis - 36%

  • S3 or S4 gallop - 34%

  • Clinical signs and symptoms suggesting thrombophlebitis - 32%

  • Lower extremity edema - 24%

  • Cardiac murmur - 23%

  • Cyanosis - 19%


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