Incidental findings on computed tomography angiography in patients evaluated for pulmonary embolism

Apostolos Perelas, Anastasios Dimou, Augustina Saenz, Ji Hyun Rhee, Krittika Teerapuncharoen, Adam Rowden, Glenn Eiger
Annals of the American Thoracic Society 2015, 12 (5): 689-95

RATIONALE: To investigate how often computed tomography (CT) pulmonary angiography contributes to establishing a diagnosis in patients presenting to the emergency department and how it performs compared to chest radiograph.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to measure the ability to identify a diagnosis and to investigate the prevalence and significance of incidental findings in patients evaluated with computed tomography pulmonary angiography in the emergency department.

METHODS: All adult patients evaluated with CT angiography over a 2-year period (January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012) were included in the analysis. A total of 641 records were identified. Chest radiographs and CT angiography reports were reviewed to determine whether they could provide a diagnosis in patients without pulmonary embolism (PE). Studies negative for PE were stratified into three categories according to significance: type I prompted immediate action, type II required follow up, and type III had findings of limited significance.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: CT angiography identified a diagnosis in 22.46% of the patient population and in 14.31% of patients without PE. In patients who had CT angiography with chest radiograph, diagnoses were provided in 14.01 and 9.86% of patients, respectively. When analysis was isolated to patients with low probability for PE, CT angiography provided a diagnosis in 20% and chest radiography in 10.23% of patients. The majority of missed cases represented infiltrates too small to be detected by radiography and were believed to represent lung infections by the interpreting radiologist. Among studies negative for PE, 15% were type I, 17.07% were type II, 48.1% were type III, and the rest were normal.

CONCLUSIONS: CT angiography is superior to chest radiography at providing a diagnosis in patients investigated for PE, even when no PE is present. However, in patients at low risk for PE, the clinical benefit of the additional diagnoses is questionable.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"