Pulmonary Embolism (PE) Treatment Program: Diagnosis & Tests Menu

How Is a Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosed?

This can be a difficult condition to diagnose because it can mimic many other diseases. A diagnosis is made by a combination of physical examination, reported symptoms, and results of diagnostic testing. Symptoms may include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath; may extend into the jaw, shoulder, or back
  • Rapid breathing
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sweating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Symptoms of a DVT: pain, swelling, redness, or warmth in the effected leg or arm

Tests used to confirm diagnosis include:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • D-dimer blood test
  • Spiral computed tomography scan (CT)
  • Ventilation-perfusion scan (VQ)
  • Duplex ultrasound
  • Pulmonary angiogram
  • Venography

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This information is provided by Vascular Health Clinics and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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