Are we Over-Imaging the Obese Patient with Suspected Pulmonary Embolus in Ireland

Type Article

Journal Article


M. L. Gargan; M. O’Sullivan; K. Hunter; O. Buckley; W. C. Torreggiani

Year of publication



Ir Med J








Aims To assess if there was a significant difference in the number of positive studies for pulmonary embolism between obese and non obese patients. Methods A retrospective analysis of all CTPAs performed in our institution over one year in patients aged 18-50 was performed. Data regarding the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism, the presence of airways disease, other significant chest findings, D dimer values and demographic data including a BMI surrogate was obtained. Results Two hundred and thirty CTPAs were performed in our institution over 12 months. Two hundred and twenty-one were included for analysis, of which 129 were male and 92 were female. Sixty-nine (31%) patients were classified as obese. Eleven (16%) of these had positive studies. One hundred and fifty-two patients were in the non obese category, of which 24 (15%) had positive studies. Conclusions We are not over imaging the obese patient, but are over imaging patients in general with suspected PE, but are exposing a significant number overall, to unnecessary radiation.