Complications and validity of pulmonary angiography in acute pulmonary embolism.
BACKGROUND The Prospective Investigation of Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis (PIOPED) addressed the value of ventilation/perfusion scans in acute pulmonary embolism (PE). The present study evaluates the risks and diagnostic validity of pulmonary angiography in 1,111 patients who underwent angiography in PIOPED:
METHODS AND RESULTS Complications were death in five (0.5%), major nonfatal complications in nine (1%), and less significant or minor in 60 (5%). More fatal or major nonfatal complications occurred in patients from the medical intensive care unit than elsewhere: five of 122 (4%) versus nine of 989 (1%) (p less than 0.02). Pulmonary artery pressure, volume of contrast material, and presence of PE did not significantly affect the frequency of complications. Renal dysfunction, either major (requiring dialysis) or less severe, occurred in 13 of 1,111 (1%). Patients who developed renal dysfunction after angiography were older than those who did not have renal dysfunction: 74 +/- 13 years versus 57 +/- 17 years (p less than 0.001). Angiograms were nondiagnostic in 35 of 1,111 (3%), and studies were incomplete in 12 of 1,111 (1%), usually because of a complication. Surveillance after negative angiograms showed PE in four of 675 (0.6%). Angiograms, interpreted on the basis of consensus readings, resulted in an unchallenged diagnosis in 96%.
CONCLUSIONS The risks of pulmonary angiography were sufficiently low to justify it as a diagnostic tool in the appropriate clinical setting. Clinical judgment is probably the most important consideration in the assessment of risk.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association