Pulmonary embolism scoring systems

Mark Crowther

What scoring systems are used in patients with pulmonary embolism?

Mark Crowther, MD: The first type of score is to help you decide whether pulmonary embolism is present or not. For example, the most famous score is probably the Wells score. In that score you assign a numeric score based on the patient’s characteristics and then you can use that score to help you to determine the best testing to yield the most likely diagnosis.

The second kind of score which has been developed is designed to take a patient who has got a known diagnosis and provide their risk of having an adverse outcome. Scores then would say that patients are generally divided into very low-risk groups and then low-risk, moderate, and high-risk groups. When you look at those scores you can say, “Well, that patient has a very low risk. It is probably reasonable to treat them at home. This person has a high risk of complications. It is probably unreasonable to treat them at home.” They are used partly to help you diagnose the condition, and frequently now to help you decide on the best management strategy.

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