Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pulmonary Embolism in Pregnancy

Investigation of suspected pulmonary embolism in pregnant patient is similar to that in non-pregnant patients, beginning with duplex ultrasound. False-positive results may occur because of venous occlusion by the enlarged uterus. Ventilation-perfusion scanning and CT angiogram can be carried out with a low risk for fetal radiation exposure.

Unfractionated heparin and low molecular-weight heparin are safe and effective in pregnancy.

Warfarin is usually avoided because of the risk for embryopathy with first-trimester use and central nervous system abnormalities and bleeding risk with second- and third-trimester use.

Thrombolysis has been used successfully during pregnancy and the postpartum period but should be limited to life-threatening situations.

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