differential diagnosis

Last reviewed 01/2018

  • myocardial infarction - in the early stages may not be ECG changes associated with MI. Changes associated with PE eg T-wave depression in V1-3, right bundle branch block are not constant findings. If there is excessive dyspnoea without pulmonary oedema then suspect a pulmonary embolism
  • acute internal haemorrhage - neck veins are engorged in pulmonary embolism
  • acute pancreatitis or bacteraemic shock have slower onsets than pulmonary embolism, and have low CVPs.
  • cardiac tamponade - echocardiography can provide evidence of pericardial fluid.
  • dissecting aortic aneurysm - chest radiography may show a widened aorta.
  • pneumothorax and massive collapse of the lung - chest radiography will show characteristic changes.
  • generally pulmonary arteriography will normally demonstrate the obstructed zone.