Spiral CT for pulmonary embolism.
Radiologic imaging for pulmonary embolism has been problematic. Ventilation perfusion scanning is frequently inconclusive; pulmonary angiography has been traditionally underused. Now spiral computed tomographic (CT) angiography provides a readily available, noninvasive test for pulmonary embolism. The accuracy of this examination is exceedingly high, so it should become the first-line test for pulmonary embolism. Recent investigations reveal a high negative predictive value for spiral CT, further proving its value. In addition, spiral CT provides an alternative diagnosis in a high percentage of patients. This article reviews current literature regarding the sensitivity, specificity, reliability, consistency, and cost-effectiveness of spiral CT.
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