Emerg Med J 22:729-730 doi:10.1136/emj.2005.029041
  • Best evidence topic reports

Diagnostic utility of electrocardiogram for diagnosing pulmonary embolism

  1. Ged Brown, Specialist Registrar,
  2. Kerstin Hogg
  1. Department of Emergency Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL, UK;


      A shortcut review was carried out to establish the diagnostic utility of electrocardiography in patients with suspected pulmonary embolus (PE). Altogether 952 papers were found using the reported search, of which five presented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The author, date, and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results, and study weaknesses of these best papers are tabulated (table 1). It is concluded that although there are electrocardiogram (ECG) changes that are more common in PE, the ECG alone is not sufficiently sensitive or specific to rule out or rule in the diagnosis.


      • Report by Ged Brown, Specialist RegistrarSearch checked by Kerstin Hogg, Clinical Research Fellow

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