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Eur Radiol. 2001;11(11):2287-94.

Equipment availability and diagnostic strategies for suspected pulmonary embolism in Austria.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria.


The aim of this study was to investigate equipment availability and current diagnostic strategies for suspected pulmonary embolism (PE) in Austrian hospitals. A questionnaire was sent to the medical directors of all Austrian hospitals with emergency and/or surgical, orthopedic, and medical departments. The questionnaire contained questions regarding the available equipment suitable for the imaging diagnosis of PE, the first-line and second-line imaging tests for patients with suspected PE, and additional lower extremity venous imaging and laboratory tests that complement the diagnostic armamentarium. The return rate for questionnaires was 81% (127 of 157 hospitals). There were 97% of hospitals that had the equipment to perform sonography, 59% could perform pulmonary angiography, 54% spiral CT, 19% ventilation/perfusion (V/P) scintigraphy, and 4% perfusion scintigraphy alone. Spiral-CT angiography (SCTA) was the first-line imaging study for suspected PE in 56% of hospitals, followed by echocardiography and V/P scintigraphy. Lower extremity venous imaging (47%) and, interestingly, V/P scintigraphy (43%), served as second-line imaging tests. D-dimer tests were included in the diagnostic strategy in 74% of hospitals. Spiral-CT angiography is the most commonly used primary method for suspected PE in Austrian hospitals. The V/P scintigraphy is available only in a minority of hospitals to investigate patients with suspected PE. When V/P scintigraphy is available, however, it is employed in a large number of patients per annum.

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