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Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism 

Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism
Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism

Paul D. Stein

, Fadi Matta

, and John D. Firth

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date: 25 February 2021

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) are sometimes described together using the term ‘thromboembolism’. PE is a complication of DVT, with thrombi in 80% or more of cases originating in the legs. Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is diagnosed in 1–2% of hospitalized patients, but is often silent and is found much more frequently at autopsy. Patients typically complain of pain and/or swelling of the leg, but often the diagnosis will be considered only when the physician detects unilateral leg swelling. Management strategies of PE have been developed that are based on the diagnosis of either PE or DVT, provided the patient has good respiratory reserve. Treatment with anticoagulants is the same for both. Some physicians believe that patients can be managed better if it is known whether acute PE is present, even if a diagnosis of DVT is already established.

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