Send to

Choose Destination
Radiology. 1998 Jul;208(1):201-8.

Pulmonary embolism: diagnosis with spiral CT and ventilation-perfusion scanning--correlation with pulmonary angiographic results or clinical outcome.

Author information

Department of Radiology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO 80262, USA.



To compare the accuracy of spiral computed tomography (CT) with that of ventilation-perfusion (V-P) scintigraphy in the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE).


Fifty-four patients in whom indeterminate V-P scans or discordant clinical and scintigraphic results were obtained underwent both V-P scanning and contrast material-enhanced spiral CT. The reference standard was pulmonary angiographic results in 26 patients (group I) or clinical outcome in 28 (group II).


Six (25%) of 24 group I patients had proved PE. The prospective sensitivity and specificity for segmental or subsegmental PE were 67% and 100%, respectively, and the positive and negative predictive values were 100% and 90%, respectively. In two group II patients, V-P scans had high probability for acute embolism, but spiral CT scans showed only chronic PE; in one patients, the V-P scan had low probability and the CT scan was positive for acute PE. An alternative CT diagnosis was established in four (31%) of 13 patients in whom a normal or low-probability V-P scan was obtained. Clinical outcome was consistent with spiral CT results in all cases.


Spiral CT has greater accuracy and specificity than V-P scanning in patients with an unresolved diagnosis and may be useful as the primary screening technique for PE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center