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December 24, 1960

Serum LDH Activity in Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis

Author Affiliations


From the Biophysics Research Laboratory and the Medical Clinic, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.; Associate in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate in Medicine, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Dr. Wacker); Research Fellow in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital; Post-doctoral Fellow of the National Foundation (Dr. Snodgrass).

JAMA. 1960;174(17):2142-2145. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63030170001007

THE DIAGNOSIS of pulmonary embolism with or without infarction remains one of the most elusive and difficult to establish in medicine. Frequently the disease is not recognized because it appears in the guise of congestive heart failure or pneumonia rather than as the distinctive syndrome of phlebitis, pleuritic pain, hemoptysis, and pulmonary infiltration.1 The diagnosis is obscured further because the clinical manifestations of pulmonary embolism, as well as the antecedent thrombophlebitis, are most often superimposed on those of another serious ailment which has enforced prolonged periods of bed rest.2,3,4

In spite of progress in the treatment of predisposing diseases, the incidence of pulmonary embolism has remained at a high and constant rate of approximately 10% of all autopsies.5 In this most common of all pulmonary diseases among patients in general hospitals,5,6 the overall accuracy of clinical diagnosis is only 20 to 50% when compared to autopsy

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