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Update On Pulmonary Embolism

Hung Van Tran


Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a common and lethal condition causing mostly from thrombi in iliac and femeral veines. Most patients who succumb to pulmonary embolism do so within the first few hours of the event. Despite diagnostic advances, delays in pulmonary embolism diagnosis are common and represent an important issue (1) As a cause of sudden death, massive pulmonary embolism is second only to sudden cardiac death in US. In patients who survive a pulmonary embolism, recurrent embolism and death can be prevented with prompt diagnosis and therapy. Unfortunately, the diagnosis is often missed because patients with pulmonary embolism present with nonspecific signs and symptoms. If left untreated, approximately one third of patients who survive an initial pulmonary embolism die from a subsequent embolic episode. After 2 years suffered from PE, 3.8% of the patients develop chronic thromboembolic pulmonary arterial hypertension (CTEPH) (2).

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