Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 258–274 | Cite as

Pulmonary thromboembolism in children

  • Paul S. Babyn
  • Harpal K. Gahunia
  • Patricia Massicotte


Pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE) is uncommonly diagnosed in the pediatric patient, and indeed often only discovered on autopsy. The incidence of pediatric PTE depends upon the associated underlying disease, diagnostic tests used, and index of suspicion. Multiple risk factors can be found including: peripartum asphyxia, dyspnea, haemoptysis, chest pain, dehydration, septicemia, central venous lines (CVLs), trauma, surgery, ongoing hemolysis, vascular lesions, malignancy, renal disease, foreign bodies or, uncommonly, intracranial venous sinus thrombosis, burns, or nonbacterial thrombotic endocarditis. Other types of embolism can occur uncommonly in childhood and need to be recognized, as the required treatment will vary. These include pulmonary cytolytic thrombi, foreign bodies, tumor and septic emboli, and post-traumatic fat emboli. No single noninvasive test for pulmonary embolism is both sensitive and specific. A combination of diagnostic procedures must be used to identify suspect or confirmed cases of PTE. This article reviews the risk factors, clinical presentation and treatment of pulmonary embolism in children. It also highlights the current diagnostic tools and protocols used to evaluate pulmonary embolism in pediatric patients.


Children Pulmonary Embolus Thrombus CT 



We wish to thank Dr. Mustafa Khan and Dr. Judith Ash for their valuable suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul S. Babyn
    • 1
  • Harpal K. Gahunia
    • 1
  • Patricia Massicotte
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pediatric Diagnostic ImagingThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada, M5G 1X5
  2. 2.Departments of Pediatric Hematology and CardiologyStollery Children’s Hospital and University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada, T6G 2B7

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