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Critical Appraisal on the Utility of Echocardiography in the Management of Acute Pulmonary Embolism

Mookadam, Farouk MD; Jiamsripong, Panupong MD; Goel, Ramil MD; Warsame, Tahlil A. BSc; Emani, Usha R. MD; Khandheria, Bijoy K. MD

doi: 10.1097/CRD.0b013e3181c09443
Review Article

Echocardiography can be used for rapid and accurate risk stratification of patients with pulmonary embolism to appropriately direct the therapeutic strategies for those at high risk. Echocardiography is an ideal risk stratification tool in this regard because of its easy portability to the emergency room or to the bed side. It can be performed at a relatively low cost and at no risk to the patient. Furthermore, echocardiography allows repetitive noninvasive assessment of the cardiovascular and hemodynamic status of the patient and the response to the therapeutic interventions. Right ventricular hypokinesis, persistent pulmonary hypertension, a patent foramen ovale, and a free floating right heart thrombus are echocardiographic markers that identify patients at a higher risk for morbidity and mortality. Such patients warrant special consideration for thrombolysis or embolectomy.

From the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ.

Reprints: Farouk Mookadam, MD, MSc (HRM), Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, 13400 E. Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85259. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.