Pulmonary embolism in acute medicine: a case-based review incorporating latest guidelines in the COVID-19 era

Link to article at PubMed

Stevenson A, et al. Br J Hosp Med (Lond) 2020 - Review.

ABSTRACT

Pulmonary embolism remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the UK, particularly following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), where those infected have an increased prevalence of venous thromboembolic events. The pathophysiology in COVID-19 patients is thought to relate to a thromboinflammatory state within the pulmonary vasculature, triggered by the infection, but other risk factors such as reduced mobility, prolonged immobilisation and dehydration are likely to contribute. Several societies have released comprehensive guidelines emphasising the importance of risk stratification in patients with acute pulmonary embolism. They advocate the use of clinically validated risk scores in conjunction with biochemical and imaging results. Patients with mild disease can now be managed in the outpatient setting and with newly developed therapies, such as catheter-directed thrombolysis, becoming available in more centres, treatment options for those with more severe disease are also expanding. This article presents four theoretical but realistic cases, each diagnosed with acute pulmonary embolism, but differing in levels of severity. These demonstrate how the guidelines can be applied in a clinical setting, with particular focus on risk stratification and management.

PMID:32589531 | DOI:10.12968/hmed.2020.0300

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