Conference Coverage

Ultrasound can’t rule out pulmonary embolism in the ED



SAN DIEGO – In the ICU, ultrasound has been shown to reduce the need for CT to evaluate potential pulmonary embolism. But in the ED, this strategy hasn’t worked out so far, according to Joseph Brown, MD, of the department of emergency medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Based on the data so far, the ED patients were less likely than the ICU patients to have another etiology identified on ultrasound that explained their symptoms. Further, ultrasound alone missed small subsegmental pulmonary emboli that were detected on subsequent CT scans in 2 of 11 patients.

The study is continuing, and Dr. Brown explains in this interview how ultrasound might be combined with other risk stratification measures to safely achieve reductions in CT scans.

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