Multidetector CT Angiography Detects Pulmonary Embolism

Study establishes diagnostic performance of multidetector computed tomographic angiography

WEDNESDAY, May 31 (HealthDay News) -- Multidetector computed tomographic angiography (CTA) is a highly accurate technique to detect pulmonary embolism, and combining it with venous-phase imaging (CTA-CTV) provides a higher diagnostic sensitivity than CTA alone with a similar specificity, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. However, the added benefit of CTV for detection of deep vein thromboses may not be enough to warrant the additional radiation, according to an editorial.

Paul D. Stein, M.D., of Wayne State University in Detroit, and colleagues studied CTA alone and CTA-CTV in 824 outpatients with a suspected diagnosis of acute pulmonary embolism.

The researchers found that CTA had a sensitivity of 83 percent and a specificity of 96 percent while CTA-CTV had a sensitivity of 90 percent and a specificity of 95 percent.

"These data, along with those from recent outcome studies, support the use of multidetector CTA for suspected pulmonary embolism as a stand-alone imaging technique in most patients," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "However, clinicians should be wary of results that are discordant with their clinical judgment, especially in the rare case of a patient with a high likelihood of pulmonary embolism and normal findings on CTA. CTV does not appear to improve the diagnostic yield of CTA enough to justify the additional irradiation."

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Rick Ansorge

Rick Ansorge

Published on May 31, 2006

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