What is the sensitivity of echocardiography in detecting acute PE?

The Bottom Line: Echocardiography does not play a major role in detecting PE in non–high-risk patients because of its limited sensitivity.

Reference: Henzler T, Schoenberg SO, Schoepf UJ, Fink C.  Diagnosing acute pulmonary embolism: systematic review of evidence base and cost-effectiveness of imaging tests. J Thorac Imaging. 2012 Sep;27(5):304-14.   

Summary: Although an echocardiogram that shows signs of RV dysfunction, for example, the McConnell sign, in a patient with a moderate or high clinical probability for PE would theoretically yield a probability for PE that is high enough to consider the diagnosis as confirmed, most clinicians require more direct evidence before deciding on several months of anticoagulation.

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