PURPOSE: To determine the sensitivity and specificity of contrast material-enhanced electron-beam computed tomography (CT) in the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sixty patients suspected of having PE were prospectively evaluated with pulmonary angiography and contrast-enhanced electron-beam CT. Thirty-eight patients underwent ventilation-perfusion (V-P [also known as V/Q]) scanning. The pulmonary vasculature was divided into 12 anatomic zones. CT and angiographic findings were correlated on a patient-by-patient basis and for each vascular zone. RESULTS: Both studies were negative for PE in 36 patients. Both studies were positive in 15 patients, with the site of the emboli correlating well. Prospective sensitivity of CT was 65%; specificity, 97%; positive predictive value, 94%; and negative predictive value, 82%. After review of the nine discordant cases, sensitivity and specificity approached 100% for clinically important acute PE. CT depicted central and peripheral emboli equally well. CT was more sensitive and specific than V-P scanning. CONCLUSION: Electron- beam CT is a sensitive and specific noninvasive method for the diagnosis of PE. It has the potential to replace V-P scanning as the primary screening examination for PE.
- Embolism, pulmonary
- Pulmonary angiography
- Pulmonary arteries, CT
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging