Lake Charles
Baton Rouge

Misdiagnosis of pulmonary embolism

The outcome of many medical conditions is greatly affected by how quickly the patient receives treatment and care, yet some emergencies in Louisiana often go misdiagnosed. One of the most common of these conditions is a pulmonary embolism. For patients who are experiencing the symptoms associated with a blood clot in the lungs, a misdiagnosis can be terrifying and, in some cases, deadly.


According to Medscape, over 30 percent of the patients who sought help from a hospital emergency room were misdiagnosed before being hospitalized or released to be sent home. Mortality rates were higher in patients who were sent home after misdiagnosis, but researchers were unclear about whether this may have been affected by other health conditions. Recent studies have attempted to discover the reason why this mistake keeps happening.


It seems that one major factor affecting correct diagnosis was whether or not the patient was suffering from other health conditions. For instance, patients who had a fever or a cough were often misdiagnosed, as were those who had a history of asthma. Patients who suffered from obstructive pulmonary disease that was chronic also had a higher risk of misdiagnosis.


Another study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that 26 percent of pulmonary embolism patients admitted between January 2007 and December 2011 were initially misdiagnosed. One factor that seemed to make a difference was how long the patient had been experiencing symptoms. A higher rate of misdiagnosis was noted if symptoms had been happening for more than one week. 


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616 Broad Street
Lake Charles, LA 70601-4337

Phone: 337-494-5757
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