Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


Although data are available indicating the complication rates for routine cardiac catheterization, information has been lacking on the morbidity of pulmonary angiography in symptomatic patients. This retrospective study was undertaken to assess the "risks" of this procedure, by analyzing all cases undergoing pulmonary angiography from June 10, 1964. to December 31, 1967. Only two deaths were considered to be causally related to the pulmonary angiogram, a mortality rate of 1.4%. The overall complication rate was 15%. There was no correlation of the complications with the average age, or the concentration of the Hypaque used. There was a correlation between complications and the mean pulmonary artery pressure, if the pulmonary angiogram was positive. The patients least likely to tolerate the procedure are the patients in whom a definite diagnosis of pulmonary embolism and knowledge of its extent is imperative. Because of this, and because of the difficulty in establishing causal relationship, the relatively high incidence of complications is not considered to be an indictment of this diagnostic procedure.