Imaging for the exclusion of pulmonary embolism in pregnancy

The Cochrane Database of Systematic reviews has published ‘Imaging for the exclusion of pulmonary embolism in pregnancy’.

Pulmonary embolism is a leading cause of pregnancy-related death. An accurate diagnosis in pregnant patients is crucial to prevent untreated pulmonary embolism as well as unnecessary anticoagulant treatment and future preventive measures. Applied imaging techniques might perform differently in these younger patients with less comorbidity and altered physiology, who largely have been excluded from diagnostic studies.

The objectives of the study was to  determine the diagnostic accuracy of computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA), lung scintigraphy and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism during pregnancy.

The Authors concluded that  both CTPA and lung scintigraphy seem appropriate for exclusion of pulmonary embolism during pregnancy. However, the quality of the evidence mandates cautious adoption of this conclusion. Important limitations included poor reference standards, necessary assumptions in the analysis regarding inconclusive test results and the inherent inability of included studies to identify false positives. It is unclear which test has the highest accuracy. There is a need for direct comparisons between diagnostic methods, including MR, in prospective randomized diagnostic studies.

Read the report here

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