Pulmonary embolism has been described as the most common form of pulmonary disease seen in the adult hospital population. Its incidence in older patients is well known, as is its association with the postpartum and postoperative states. Pulmonary embolism in healthy, ambulatory persons, however, is less commonly recognized. Similarly its occurrence in persons under the age of 40 is considered rare.
In a communication in the April Archives of Environmental Health, Kent and Reid describe pulmonary embolism occurring in 26 active-duty servicemen. All were in apparent good health prior to the embolism: 21 of the group were under the age of 40 years, all under the age of 45.
Abnormalities in the cardiovascular system in general were not found in this group. Electrocardiograms were normal in 65% of the cases. These major differences from previously described series can probably be explained by the lack of predisposing cardiovascular disease in this