Pulmonary embolism (PE) remains a common and important clinical condition that cannot be accurately diagnosed on the basis of signs, symptoms, and history alone. The diagnosis of PE has been facilitated by technical advancements and multidetector CT pulmonary angiography, which is the major diagnostic modality currently used. Ventilation and perfusion scans remain largely accurate and useful in certain settings. MR angiography can be useful in some clinical scenarios and lower-extremity ultrasound can substitute by demonstrating deep vein thrombosis; however, if negative, further studies to exclude PE are indicated. In all cases, correlation with the clinical status, particularly with risk factors, improves not only the accuracy of diagnostic imaging but also overall utilization. Other diagnostic tests have limited roles. The ACR Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision process support the systematic analysis of the medical literature from peer-reviewed journals. Established methodology principles such as Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE are adapted to evaluate the evidence. The RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method User Manual provides the methodology to determine the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances in which peer-reviewed literature is lacking or equivocal, experts may be the primary evidentiary source available to formulate a recommendation.
- Appropriate Use Criteria
- Appropriateness Criteria
- Pulmonary CT angiography (CTA)
- Pulmonary embolism
- Ventilation and perfusion (V/Q) scans