Template:PE types

Pulmonary Embolism Categorization[1]

Massive: High-risk

Hemodynamically unstable with symptoms of shock

  • ACCP 2016 CHEST Guidelines: Sustained hypotension ONLY criteria (systolic BP <90 for at least 15min or requiring inotropic support)
  • Previous definitions (e.g. AHA 2011) include cardiac arrest/pulselessness or persistent profound bradycardia (HR <40 with signs of shock)

Submassive: Intermediate-risk

Right ventricular dysfunction (RVD) and/or myocardial necrosis in the absence of persistent hypotension or shock (SBP >90)[2]

  • RV dysfunction
    • RV dilation or dysfunction on TTE
      • "D Sign" on bedside echo (LV takes on a "D" shape due to RV dilation)
    • RV dysfunction on CT defined as RV/LV ratio >0.9[3]
    • Elevation of BNP (>90)
    • ECG findings of right heart strain (see diagnosis below)
  • Myocardial necrosis: Troponin I >0.4

Non-Massive: Low-risk

No hemodynamic compromise and no RV strain


  • Limited to the subsegmental pulmonary arteries
  • Jaff MR et al. Management of massive and submassive pulmonary embolism, ileofemoral deep vein thrombosis, and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011 Apr 26;123(16):1788-830. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0b013e318214914f. Epub 2011 Mar 21
  • Martin C et al. Systemic thrombolysis for pulmonary embolism: a review. P T. 2016 Dec; 41(12):770-775
  • Becattini C et al. Multidetector computed tomography for acute pulmonary embolism: diagnosis and risk stratification in a single test. Eur Heart J. 2011 Jul;32(13):1657-63. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehr108. Epub 2011 Apr 18.