Jornal Vascular Brasileiro
Jornal Vascular Brasileiro
Therapeutic Challenge

Is routine screening for silent pulmonary embolism justified in patients with deep vein thrombosis?

Existe justificativa para o rastreio de embolia pulmonar silenciosa em pacientes com trombose venosa profunda?

Marcela Juliano Silva; Cynthia de Almeida Mendes; Sergio Kuzniec; Mariana Krutman; Nelson Wolosker

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Abstract: The incidence of asymptomatic pulmonary embolism (PE) exceeds 70% in patients with deep venous thrombosis (DVT), even in cases of distal deep vein thrombosis. We report the case of a patient with a diagnosis of DVT in the lower left limb associated with asymptomatic PE who presented late symptoms due to this same PE. The absence of acute symptoms and the late onset of symptoms could have provoked doubts about the most appropriate treatment, resulting in unnecessary interventions, if pulmonary embolism had not already been diagnosed with tomography. In the present case, we demonstrate that computed tomography angiography conducted at the time of DVT diagnosis accurately diagnosed PE and prevented any misinterpretation of recurrent DVT in a patient already being medicated, which could have been mistakenly interpreted as demonstrating failure of anticoagulant therapy. Such a situation could lead to unnecessary intervention to fit an inferior vena cava filter. We cannot suggest that a classic medical conduct should be reformulated simply on the basis of a case report. However, we would be remiss not to suggest that well-designed studies should be carried out in the future to assess the need for this examination in the acute phase.


venous thrombosis, vena cava filters, pulmonary embolism, embolism and thrombosis, anticoagulants


Resumo: A ocorrência de embolia pulmonar assintomática em pacientes com trombose venosa profunda tem uma incidência que excede 70%, mesmo nos casos de trombose venosa profunda distal. Relatamos o caso de um paciente com diagnóstico de trombose venosa profunda no membro inferior esquerdo associado a embolia pulmonar assintomática, que apresentou sintomas tardios devido a essa mesma embolia. A ausência de sintomas agudos e o surgimento de sintomas tardios pode suscitar dúvidas quanto ao tratamento mais adequado e resultar em intervenções desnecessárias, se o diagnóstico tomográfico de embolia pulmonar não tiver sido feito anteriormente. No presente caso, demonstramos que uma angiotomografia realizada no momento do diagnóstico de trombose venosa profunda detectou a embolia pulmonar e evitou uma interpretação incorreta de um evento trombótico recorrente na vigência de anticoagulação, o que por engano demonstraria uma falha na terapia anticoagulante. Essa situação pode levar a intervenções desnecessárias, como o implante de filtro de veia cava inferior. Entendemos que apenas um relato de caso não deve mudar uma conduta médica já estabelecida; no entanto, fomenta a discussão e estimula estudos que avaliem a necessidade de um exame diagnóstico pulmonar no momento do diagnóstico de trombose venosa profunda.


trombose, veias cavas, embolia, embolia e trombose, anticoagulantes


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