Pulmonary Embolism Flashcards Preview

Cardiovascular Medicine > Pulmonary Embolism > Flashcards

Flashcards in Pulmonary Embolism Deck (20):

What are the risk factors for venous thromboembolism in hospital inpatients? (16 in total)

1. Age >60
2. One or more significant medical comorbidities (e.g. heart disease, respiratory failure, acute infection)
3. Obesity (BMI >30 kg/m2)
4. Major abdominal/pelvic surgery
5. Active cancer or cancer treatment
6. Pregnancy
7. Use of oestrogen-containing OCP/HRT
8. Significant immobility
9. Varicose veins with phlebitis
10. Diabetic coma
11. Personal or 1st degree relative history of VTE
12. Thrombophilia
13. Inflammatory bowel disease
14. Nephrotic syndrome
15. Critical care admission
16. Dehydration


In which veins do emboli usually arise from?

1. Pelvic or abdominal veins
- Most clinically relevant PEs
2. Femoral DVT
3. Axillary DVT

Clinical DVT not commonly observed. Detailed Ix of iliofemoral or pelvic veins reveals thrombosis in >50% cases


True or false: in PE, the lung tissue is well perfused but not ventilated, resulting in impaired gas exchange.

False - the lung tissue is well ventilated but not perfused, producing an intrapulmonary deadspace.

After some hours: reduced surfactant production, alveolar collapse and increased hypoxaemia.


True or false: a small embolus impacting a terminal pulmonary vessel may be clinically silent.

True - oxygen continues to be supplied by the bronchial circulation.


What are the main intrinsic risk factors for clot formation?

1. Sluggish blood flow
2. Local injury or compression
3. Hyercoagulable state

Emboli can also occur from:
4. Tumour
5. Fat (e.g. long bone #)
6. Amniotic fluid
7. Foreign material during IVDU


How does PE typically present?

1. Small/medium
- PC: sudden onset dyspnoea, pleuritic chest pain and haemoptysis (if infarcted)
- O/E: tachypnoeic, pleural rub
- Exudative pleural effusion can develop

2. Massive
- Medical emergency
- PC: severe central chest pain, pale & sweaty
- O/E: marked tachypnoea and tachycardia, shocked, central cyanosis, raised JVP, RV heave, loud S2 and gallop rhythm (acute right heart failure)

Multiple recurrent
- Symptoms & signs of pulmonary hypertension, developing over weeks to months


What is the first-step in management of suspected PE?

Determine pre-test clinical probability (revised Geneva score)


Name and outline the clinical pre-test probability score for prediction of PE

Revised Geneva Score:

Risk factors
- Age >65: +1
- Previous DVT or PE: +3
- Surgery or fracture within 1 month: +2
- Active malignancy: +2

- Unilateral leg pain: +3
- Haemoptysis: +2

Clinical signs
- HR 75-94: +3
- HR 95+: +5
- Pain on deep leg palpation and unilateral oedema: +4

Clinical probability
- Low: 0-3
- Intermediate: 4-10
- High: 11+

About 8% of patients with a low score will have a PE


A 68 year old patient presents with dyspnoea and pleuritic chest pain. He had a hernia repair 2 weeks ago. On examination he is slightly tachycardic (85 bpm) and tachypnoeic. What is his pre-test probability of PE? How would you proceed?

Age >65: 1
Recent surgery: +2
HR 75-94: +3
Total score = 6 (intermediate)

Start LMWH and send for CTPA. If PE present, start warfarin. If CTPA inconclusive, repeat or Doppler US of legs or V/Q scan.


A 53 year old female presents with dyspneoa and haemoptysis. HR 74, BP 130/85. What is her pre-test probability of PE? Her D-dimer is negative. How would you proceed?

Haemoptysis: +2
Total score = 2 (low)

D-dimer -ve. Seek alternative cause for symptoms (CXR, ECG).


A 65 year old patient with presents with severe central chest pain and breathlessness. He was Dx with DVT 6 months ago. SaO2 88, BP 100/53, HR 100. Examination reveals central cyanosis, a raised JVP, RV heave, loud S2 and gallop rhythm. How would you manage this patient?

This patient has acute right heart failure indicating a massive PE: this is a medical emergency.

1. High flow oxygen
- Hypoxaemic
2. Thrombolysis and CTPA
- For massive embolism with persistent hypotension
- Or bedside echo if too unstable
3. Analgesia
- Morphine 5-10 mg IV
- Relieve pain and anxiety
4. LMWH and oral warfarin
- Prevent further thrombi
5. IV fluids
- Raise filling pressure for moderate/severe embolism


What investigations are indicated for suspected/confirmed PE?

Geneva score is used prior to investigation to help decide on most appropriate 1st-line Dx test.

1. CXR
- Decreased vascular markings
- Atelectasis
- Raised hemidiaphragm (loss of lung volume)
- Wedge-shaped opacity adjacent to pleural edge (late feature)
- Enlarged pulmonary artery
- Pleural effusion
2. ECG
- Sinus tachycardia
- New onset AF
- Acute right HF: tall peaked P waves (lead II), RAD, RBBB
3. ABG
- Hypoxaemia and hypercapnia with massive emboli
4. D-dimer
- In patients with low pre-test score
- Also elevated in cancer, pregnancy, post-operatively
- Highly sensitive for large proximal pulmonary emboli
- Segmental emboli may be missed
- Advantage over V/Q: also detects alternative pathology
6. V/Q scan
- Patients with coexistent chronic lung disease may need further imaging
7. US
- Detects clots in pelvic or iliofemoral veins
8. MRI
- If CT is contraindicated
9. Echocardiogram
- Diagnostic in massive PE
- Performed at bedside
- Demonstrates proximal thrombus and RV dilatation


What is the pathology behind a massive PE?

A massive embolism obstructs the right ventricular outflow tract causing a sudden increase in pulmonary vascular resistance, leading to acute right heart failure.


Is thrombolysis indicated in the management of PE?

Yes - but only in acute massive embolism if persistant arterial hypotension


Is surgery indicated in the management of PE?

If thrombolysis is contraindicated or ineffective (in massive PE with hypotension), surgical embolectomy may be undertaken


True or false: patients who are cardiovascularly stable can be treated at home once diagnosis of PE is confirmed.

True - only if they have no co-existent serious medical pathology


How long is anticoagulation continued for?

6 weeks to 6 months, depending on likelihood of recurrence.
Lifelong anticoagulation is indicated for recurrent emboli.


What if anticoagulation is contraindicated in individuals with a high risk of recurrent PE?

Insertion of a vena caval filter.
Also used if emboli recur despite adequate anticoagulation.


True or False: PE is the leading cause of maternal death in the developed world.



What are the 3 main points to consider in management of PE in pregnant women?

1. Initial investigation is compression ultrasonography of the legs. CTPA if US is normal.
2. CTPA delivers a lower dose of radiation to the foetus than V/Q scanning.
3. Warfarin is teratogenic - confirmed PE is treated with LMWH.