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April 9, 2008

Evaluation of Suspected Pulmonary Embolism During Pregnancy

JAMA. 2008;299(14):1665-1666. doi:10.1001/jama.299.14.1665-a

To the Editor: In his Editorial, Dr Glassroth1 suggests that during pregnancy ventilation-perfusion lung scanning is preferred to computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA) because radiation dosage is higher with CTPA. However, with respect to the fetus the opposite is true: CTPA exposes the fetus to less radiation.2,3 The more important CTPA-related radiation risk during pregnancy is to the breasts,4 a risk that may be offset by the use of breast shields.5 In general, when pulmonary embolism is suspected during pregnancy, CTPA is the preferred study.