Page of

Dyspnea 

Dyspnea
Chapter:
Dyspnea
Source:
Acute Care Casebook
Author(s):

Michael Joyce

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190865412.003.0037

The case covers the diagnosis and treatment of a rare but potentially life-threatening complication of surgery: pulmonary embolism. Despite prophylaxis, the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism should be considered in any patient who has acute decompensation postoperatively. Initiation of therapy once the diagnosis is thought to be likely is imperative to prevent further clot formation. Common clinical presentation, diagnostic tests, and therapy options are discussed, as well as the use of bedside echocardiogram to assist in the diagnosis. The best treatment option for postoperative patients is shorter acting and potentially reversible unfractionated heparin. Thrombolytic therapy should be considered for patients who have evidence of hemodynamic compromise.

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