eISSN: 1897-4309
ISSN: 1428-2526
Contemporary Oncology/Współczesna Onkologia
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vol. 16
Review paper

Acute pulmonary embolus in the course of cancer

Marta Biedka
Ewa Ziółkowska
Wiesława Windorbska

Wspolczesna Onkol 2012; 16 (5): 388–393
Online publish date: 2012/11/20
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Risk of pulmonary embolism (PE) is relatively high in patients with advanced chronic diseases, particularly with malignancies. Most patients with cancer have blood coagulation test abnormalities indicative of up-regulation of the coagulation cascade, increased platelet activation and aggregation. Pulmonary thromboembolism is common in patients with any cancer and incidence is increased by surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and disease progression. Manifestations range from small asymptomatic to life-threatening central PE with subsequent hypotension and cardiogenic shock. Diagnostic algorithms utilizing various noninvasive tests have been developed to determine the pretest probability of PE results of D-dimer assay, chest radiography ECG and computed tomography. The mortality in untreated PE is high (30%) but appropriate treatment may decrease it to 2–18%. The current recommended treatment for massive pulmonary embolus is either thrombolytic therapy or surgical embolectomy.

embolus, cancer, thrombosis

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