Utilization of lung scans by clinicians.
To determine the effect of clinical assessments and lung scan results on the management of patients, we studied 566 consecutive patients referred for lung scans because of suspected pulmonary embolism. Prior to the lung scan, the clinician was asked to estimate the probability of pulmonary embolus. Two or three days later the physician was contacted to determine how the patient was managed. The results of the lung scan strongly influenced patient management. Patients with high probability lung scans were treated for pulmonary embolism regardless of the clinical pretest estimate. Low and intermediate probability lung scans resulted in most patients not being treated for pulmonary embolism and not referred for pulmonary angiography. Only 55 of the 566 patients were referred for pulmonary angiography, and approximately one-half of these patients had lung scans with an intermediate probability for pulmonary embolism.
Frankel, N; Coleman, RE; Pryor, DB; Sostman, HD; Ravin, CE
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