How is duplex ultrasonography used to diagnose 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

The diagnosis of pulmonary embolism can be proven by demonstrating the presence of a DVT at any site. This may sometimes be accomplished noninvasively by using duplex ultrasonography. To look for DVT using ultrasonography, the ultrasonographic transducer is placed against the skin and pressed inward firmly enough to compress the vein being examined. In an area of normal veins, the veins are easily compressed completely closed, while the muscular arteries are extremely resistant to compression. Where DVT is present, the veins do not collapse completely when pressure is applied using the ultrasonographic probe.


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