Assembling the Puzzle: Taking into Account Clinical Presentation and Predictive Scores

Jaime M. Rivera-Babilonia, Ismael Valle-Irizarry, Juan I. Vazquez-Fuster, Jose Gutierrez-Nuñez, Luis Rodriguez-Ospina


Syncope is a common cause of emergency department visits. Physicians must scrutinize for life-threatening causes to avoid patient morbidity and mortality. Clinical decision rules are used to stratify risks and guide the course of action, including the need for further testing. This is the case of a 83-year-old man was brought to the emergency department after a 5-minute episode of sudden loss of consciousness. Vital signs showed hypotension and physical examination was unremarkable. Despite Wells score of 0, clinical suspicion for pulmonary embolism persisted, for which further testing was pursued. D-dimer was elevated at 13.77 mcg/mL and a chest computed tomography with angiography showed an extensive bilateral pulmonary embolism involving the distal right and left main pulmonary arteries. He was started on full-dose anticoagulation. This case exemplifies the need of high clinical suspicion along with the importance of applying predictive scores for diagnosing unusual causes of syncope.


Pulmonary Embolism, Syncope, Well's Score, Predictive Score, Pulmonary Embolism rule-out criteria

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