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Medicina (B Aires). 1965 Nov-Dec;25(6):360-8.

[Anatomoclinical study of pulmonary embolism in patients with or without pulmonary infarction].

[Article in Spanish]

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Institnto de Investigaciones Médicas, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Donato Alvarez 3000, Buenos Aires.


The autopsy protocols of 560 patients were studied in order to detect the incidence of pulmonary embolism, 83 cases were found (15%). The clinical data was analyzed to establish the existence of differentiating points between subjects with pulmonary infarcts and those with embolism but without infarction. The necropsy findings were further scrutinized to determine the effect of the anatomic localization of the embolus upon the production of infarction. Pulmonary infarctions were present in 60% of the cases with pulmonary embolus. The presence of cardiac failure, valvular heart disease and left ventricular hypertrophy was significantly more frequent in patients with pulmonary infarcts. In subjects with or without infarction the age, sex and the presence of medical debilitating diseases, recent trauma, surgical interventions or postpartum, cardiac diseases, arteriosclerotic heart disease, clinical evidence of thrombophlebitis, prolonged bed rest and atrial fibriliation preceding the pulmonary embolism, did not evidenciate any significant difference. In the cases with infarction the pulmonary embolus was significantly more frequently located in the small and sublobar pulmonary artery branches, while when pulmonary infarction was not found the embolic process was more frequently located in the main, right or left pulmonary arteries; occlusion of the lobar arteries had approximately the same incidence in the two groups. The most common clinical signs of pulmonary thromboembolism were dyspnea, tachycardia, cough and shock. The presence of hyperthermia, cough, jaundice, bloody sputum, pleuritic pain, pleural friction rub and pleural effusion was significantly more frequent in those cases with pulmonary infarction; the last five features were present only in the presence of infarction. The electrocardiogram was strongly suggestive of pulmonary embolism in the 6% of all cases, while the chest X-ray in 30% of those with pulmonary infarct. The diagnosis was established antemortem in 40% of the cases with infarction and in 20% of the cases with embolus but without pulmonary infarction. In 23% adequate anticoagulant therapy was established.

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