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Screening Tests for Pulmonary Embolism

R. D. Sautter, MD; Samuel Butler
JAMA. 1967;201(6):490. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130060164027.
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To the Editor:—  I read with interest the editorial entitled "A Screening Test for Pulmonary Embolism" (199:576, 1967). I should like, however, to refer the readers to a paper entitled "Post-Operative Changes in Regional Pulmonary Blood Flow" by Lester Bryant.1 Bryant made it quite clear that the incidence of false positives was very high. Ninety-seven patients were studied with photoscans, and 12 of these patients showed evidence suggestive of pulmonary embolism. However, only two patients did indeed have an embolus. Therefore, as suggested by Bryant, the photoscan is only of value when there is a normal study, for this rules out pulmonary embolism as a diagnostic consideration.Any institution equipped for the performance or interpretation of photoscans should be, or in all likelihood is, capable of performing pulmonary arteriography. Highly specialized personnel is not a prerequisite, for even I, as a thoracic surgeon and indeed even some radiologists can


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