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Role of echocardiography in managing acute pulmonary embolism
  1. Noura M Dabbouseh,
  2. Jayshil J Patel,
  3. Paul Anthony Bergl
  1. Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Paul Anthony Bergl, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509, USA; pbergl{at}


The role of echocardiography in acute pulmonary embolism (PE) remains incompletely defined. Echocardiography cannot reliably diagnose acute PE, and it does not improve prognostication of patients with low-risk acute PE who lack other clinical features of right ventricular (RV) dysfunction. Echocardiography, however, may yield additional prognostic information in higher risk patients and can aid in distinguishing acute from chronic RV dysfunction. Specific echocardiographic markers of RV dysfunction have the potential to enhance prognostication beyond existing risk models. Until these markers are subjected to rigorous prospective studies, the therapeutic utility and economic value of echocardiography in acute PE are uncertain.

  • echocardiography
  • pulmonary embolism
  • venous thromboembolism
  • right ventricular dysfunction
  • risk stratification
  • guidelines

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  • Contributors NMD contributed to the overall design and organisation of the manuscript, collected and analysed the available literature, drafted the manuscript, provided critical revisions and approved of the final version. JJP contributed to the design and organisation of the manuscript, suggested and appraised literature, drafted sections of the manuscript, critically revised the remainder of the manuscript and approved of the final version. PAB initiated this review, helped in collecting and analysing the available literature, shared in drafting the manuscript, contributed critical revisions, provided final edits and approved of the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.