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Am J Cardiol. 2002 Sep 1;90(5):507-11.

Disturbed right ventricular ejection pattern as a new Doppler echocardiographic sign of acute pulmonary embolism.

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Department of Chest Medicine and Division of Radiology, Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Warsaw, Poland.


Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is frequently performed in patients with suspected acute pulmonary embolism (APE) to search for right ventricular (RV) pressure overload. We prospectively assessed the diagnostic value of a new Doppler echocardiographic sign of APE based on the disturbed RV ejection pattern ("60/60 sign") and compared its diagnostic performances with that of the presence of RV pressure overload, as well as with "McConnell sign" based on RV regional wall motion abnormalities. We assessed 100 consecutive patients with clinical suspicion of APE, including those with previous cardiorespiratory diseases. After TTE, all of the patients underwent reference diagnostic tests for APE. The 60/60 sign required RV acceleration time of <or=60 ms in presence of tricuspid insufficiency pressure gradient <or=60 mm Hg. APE was ultimately confirmed in 67 of 100 patients. In 17 of 67 patients, 60/60 sign correctly suggested APE, whereas 2 false-positive results were noted: in pulmonary fibrosis and in acute respiratory distress syndrome following lung resection. McConnell sign was fully specific but was noted in only 13 of 67 patients. Sensitivity and specificity were 81% and 45% for "RV-pressure overload" signs, 25% and 94% for 60/60 sign, and 19% and 100% for McConnell sign. When combined, the 2 latter signs were 94% specific and 36% sensitive in diagnosing APE. Thus, RV overload at echocardiography is not specific for APE. The 60/60 and McConnell signs are insensitive, but are reliable and helpful in bedside diagnosis of APE when direct visualization of the pulmonary arteries is impossible. Combining these 2 signs may increase the sensitivity without compromising the specificity of echocardiographic diagnosis of APE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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