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Suspected pulmonary embolism and deep venous thrombosis: a comprehensive multidetector computed tomography diagnosis in the acute setting

  • L. Salvolini
    Affiliations
    [Department of Radiology, “Umberto I” Hospital, Ospedali Riuniti, “Politecnico delle Marche” University, Via Conca, I-60020 Ancona, Italy]. Eur J Radiol 2008;65:340-349.
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  • M. Scaglione
    Affiliations
    [Department of Radiology, “Umberto I” Hospital, Ospedali Riuniti, “Politecnico delle Marche” University, Via Conca, I-60020 Ancona, Italy]. Eur J Radiol 2008;65:340-349.
    Search for articles by this author
  • G.M. Giuseppetti
    Affiliations
    [Department of Radiology, “Umberto I” Hospital, Ospedali Riuniti, “Politecnico delle Marche” University, Via Conca, I-60020 Ancona, Italy]. Eur J Radiol 2008;65:340-349.
    Search for articles by this author
  • A. Giovagnosi
    Affiliations
    [Department of Radiology, “Umberto I” Hospital, Ospedali Riuniti, “Politecnico delle Marche” University, Via Conca, I-60020 Ancona, Italy]. Eur J Radiol 2008;65:340-349.
    Search for articles by this author
      Both pulmonary arterial and peripheral venous sides of venous thromboembolism (VTE) can now be efficiently and safely investigated by multi-detector CT (MDCT) at the same time by a combined CT angiography/CT venography protocol. In the emergency setting, the use of such a single test for patients suspected of suffering from VTE on clinical grounds may considerably shorten and simplify diagnostic algorithms. The selection of patients to be submitted to MDCT must follow well-established clinical prediction rules in order to avoid generalized referral to CT on a generic clinical suspicion basis and excessive population exposure to increased ionizing radiation dose, especially in young patients. Clinical and anatomical wide-panoramic capabilities of MDCT allow identification of underlying disease that may explain patients' symptoms in a large number of cases in which VTE is not manifest. The analysis of MDCT additional findings on cardiopulmonary status and total thrombus burden can lead to better prognostic stratification of patients and influence therapeutic options. Some controversial points such as optimal examination parameters, clinical significance of subsegmentary emboli, CT pitfalls and/or possible falsely positive diagnoses, and outcome of untreated patients in which VTE has been excluded by MDCT without additional testing must of course be taken into careful consideration before the definite role of comprehensive MDCT VTE “one-stop-shop” diagnosis in everyday clinical practice can be ascertained.
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