Current Controversies in Caring for the Critically Ill Pulmonary Embolism Patient.
Emergency physicians must be prepared to rapidly diagnose and resuscitate patients with pulmonary embolism (PE). Certain aspects of PE resuscitation run counter to typical approaches. A specific understanding of the pathophysiology of PE is required to avoid cardiovascular collapse potentially associated with excessive intravenous fluids and positive pressure ventilation. Once PE is diagnosed, rapid risk stratification should be performed and treatment guided by patient risk class. Although anticoagulation remains the mainstay of PE treatment, emergency physicians also must understand the indications and contraindications for thrombolysis and should be aware of new therapies and models of care that may improve outcomes.
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