Clinical Presentation

There is no typical presentation of PE. The classic triad of dyspnea, hemoptysis, and pleuritic chest pain occurs in less than 20 percent of patients. Tables^-? lists the frequency of symptoms and signs found in patients with angiographically proven PE.5 Chest pain (usually pleuritic) and dyspnea were the only symptoms and tachypnea (respirations >16/min) was the only sign occurring with sufficient frequency to be clinically useful. The absence of any of these three findings is strong though inconclusive clinical evidence in excluding the diagnosis of PE. The presence of any of these, especially in association with predisposing risks for DVT, must raise the index of suspicion for PE if no other cause is found.

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