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Serum LDH Activity in Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis

Warren E. C. Wacker, M.D.; Philip J. Snodgrass, M.D.
JAMA. 1960;174(17):2142-2145. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63030170001007.
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THE DIAGNOSIS of pulmonary embolism with or without infarction remains one of the most elusive and difficult to establish in medicine. Frequently the disease is not recognized because it appears in the guise of congestive heart failure or pneumonia rather than as the distinctive syndrome of phlebitis, pleuritic pain, hemoptysis, and pulmonary infiltration.1 The diagnosis is obscured further because the clinical manifestations of pulmonary embolism, as well as the antecedent thrombophlebitis, are most often superimposed on those of another serious ailment which has enforced prolonged periods of bed rest.2,3,4

In spite of progress in the treatment of predisposing diseases, the incidence of pulmonary embolism has remained at a high and constant rate of approximately 10% of all autopsies.5 In this most common of all pulmonary diseases among patients in general hospitals,5,6 the overall accuracy of clinical diagnosis is only 20 to 50% when compared to autopsy


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