The management of pulmonary embolism

Jane E. Lewis, David V. Pilcher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a significant cause of hospitalization, morbidity and mortality and frequently triggers referral to critical care services. Critically ill patients are also at increased risk of developing venous thrombo-embolism (VTE) and acute PE. Critical care clinicians should be confident in their approach to the patient with suspected and diagnosed PE. Furthermore, the co-morbid conditions in this patient group may present additional challenges both in diagnosis (e.g. safe access to radiology) and management (e.g. absolute and relative contraindications to anticoagulation/thrombolysis in critically ill patients). This brief review summarizes the contemporary evidence base regarding both diagnosis and treatment strategies and draws upon this to suggest a simple algorithm for investigation, risk stratification and management, particularly tailored to patients within a critical care setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticoagulation
  • computed tomography pulmonary angiogram (CTPA)
  • embolectomy
  • IVC filter
  • massive pulmonary embolism
  • pulmonary embolism
  • submassive pulmonary embolism
  • thrombolysis
  • venous thrombo-embolism (VTE)

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