How effective is pulmonary angiography in detecting multiple recurrences 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

In most patients, however, pulmonary embolism is a disease of multiple recurrences, with large and small emboli already present by the time the diagnosis is suspected. Under these circumstances, the V/Q scan and the angiogram are likely to detect at least some of the emboli.

Pulmonary angiography demonstrates subsegmental vessels in more detail than does CT scanning, although the superimposition of the small vessels remains a limiting factor. As a result, the interobserver agreement rate for isolated subsegmental pulmonary embolism is only 45%.


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