April 01, 2016 < Back to Categories

Pulmonary Embolism As a Consequence of Ultrasonographic Examination of Extremities for Suspected Venous Thrombosis: A Systematic Review

Ghazaleh Mehdipoor, Abbas Arjmand Shabestari, Gregory Y. H. Lip, Behnood Bikdeli

Under the direction of Principal Investigator Dr. Behnood Bikdeli, a team of medical researchers assessed a possible link between ultrasound examinations and eventual Pulmonary embolism (PE). Ultrasound testing is frequently used to detect blood clots in the legs or other extremities, a condition referred to as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A Pulmonary embolism then occurs if that blood clot travels by way of the blood stream into the Pulmonary artery in the lungs, resulting in a serious blockage. Dr. Bikdeli and his colleagues conducted a comprehensive review of published studies and reports in which patients received ultrasonographic examinations in response to suspected DVT. After screening well over 3,000 published studies, the researchers narrowed their findings to include only the reports of patients who later experienced PE. In total, there were 15 reports of PE after ultrasound testing for a suspected DVT, and among them 8 original case reports; the researchers ultimately discovered two fatal outcomes as a result of Pulmonary embolism. While Dr. Bikdeli urges that ultrasonographic assessments are still the safest and most thorough tool for identifying DVT, physicians and radiologists must be aware that excess pressure on the extremities during the examination may lead to Pulmonary embolism, a condition that is potentially life threatening.

Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis. January 25, 2016. DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1571336