In recent years CT has been established as the method of choice for the diagnosis of central pulmonary embolism (PE) to the level of the segmental arteries. The key advantage of CT over competing modalities is the reliable detection of relevant alternative or additional disease causing the patient's symptoms. Although the clinical relevance of isolated peripheral emboli remains unclear, the alleged poor sensitivity of CT for the detection of such small clots has to date prevented the acceptance of CT as the gold standard for diagnosing PE. With the advent of multislice CT we can now cover the entire chest of a patient with 1-mm slices within one breath-hold. In comparison with thicker sections, the detection rate of subsegmental emboli can be significantly increased with 1-mm slices. In addition, the interobserver correlation which can be achieved with 1-mm sections by far exceeds the reproducibility of competing modalities. Meanwhile use of multislice CT for a combined diagnosis of PE and deep venous thrombosis with the same modality appears to be clinically accepted. In the vast majority of patients who receive a combined thoracic and venous multislice CT examination the scan either confirms the suspected diagnosis or reveals relevant alternative or additional disease. The therapeutic regimen is usually chosen based on the functional effect of embolic vascular occlusion. With the advent of fast CT scanning techniques, also functional parameters of lung perfusion can be non-invasively assessed by CT imaging. These advantages let multislice CT appear as an attractive modality for a non-invasive, fast, accurate, and comprehensive diagnosis of PE, its causes, effects, and differential diagnoses.
View details for Web of Science ID 000172277300023
View details for PubMedID 11702173