Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism
To diagnose pulmonary embolism, doctors take a person's medical history, physical exam, and test results into account. Several test are used as part of the diagnostic process. Initial tests include an EKG, a chest x-ray, a duplex ultrasound, and blood work. Additional tests (such as pulmonary angiography) may be needed to confirm a pulmonary embolism.
Making a pulmonary embolism diagnosis typically requires a health history and a physical exam. These will help your doctor:
The Physical Exam
The physical exam will include:
- Checking your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate
- Listening to your lungs
- Listening to your heart
- Checking your legs for signs and symptoms of DVT.
Initial tests that will help your doctor to diagnose pulmonary embolism include:
- Chest x-ray
- Duplex ultrasound
- Blood work.
EKG or ECG (Electrocardiogram)
An EKG is used to measure the rate and regularity of your heartbeat.
A chest x-ray is used to take a picture of the lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and the diaphragm.