Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2021 Feb 16. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1723936. Online ahead of print.
Pulmonary embolism (PE) remains a diagnostic challenge in 2021. As the pathology is potentially fatal and signs and symptoms are nonspecific, further investigations are classically required. Based on the Bayesian approach, clinical probability became the keystone of the diagnostic strategy to rule out PE in the case of a negative testing. Several clinical probability assessment methods are validated: gestalt, the Wells score, or the revised Geneva score. While the debate persists as to the best way to assess clinical probability, its assessment allows for the good interpretation of the investigation results and therefore directs the correct diagnostic strategy. The wide availability of computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) resulted in a major increase in investigations with a moderate increase in diagnosis, without any notable improvement in patient outcomes. This leads to a new challenge for PE diagnosis which is the limitation of the number of testing for suspected PE. We review different strategies recently developed to achieve this goal. The last challenge concerns the implementation in clinical practice. Two approaches are developed: simplification of the strategies versus the use of digital support tools allowing more sophisticated strategies. Artificial intelligence with machine-learning algorithms will probably be a future tool to guide the physician in this complex approach concerning acute PE suspicion.