The Open Orthopaedics Journal

ISSN: 1874-3250 ― Volume 14, 2020

Factors in Pulmonary Embolus Diagnosis via CT Pulmonary Angiogram in Patients Undergoing Repair of Proximal Femur Fractures

Peter Moriarty1, *, Heather Moriarty1, Michael Maher2, James Harty2
1 Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland
2 Mater Misercordae University Hospital, Radiology Eccles St, Dublin, Ireland



As imaging technology improves small Pulmonary Emboli (PE) of debatable clinical relevance are increasingly detected leading to higher numbers of patients receiving anticoagulation. Although PE are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing repair of proximal femur fractures, this cohort of patients are at increased falls risk and are therefore largely unsuitable for long term anticoagulant therapy.


1. To review sequential Computed Tomography Pulmonary Angiograms (CTPA) performed in patients who underwent repair of proximal femur fractures at our institution.
2. To establish the perioperative CT imaging performed.


A retrospective cross sectional study of all patients undergoing proximal femur fracture repair at a single tertiary referral.


The theatre database was interrogated to reveal all patients undergoing proximal femur fracture repair over a 28 month period from 01/01/12 to 07/04/14 inclusive. This was cross-referenced with the Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS) to establish all imaging undertaken in the perioperative period. CTPA studies performed within the time period of 1 week prior to and 6 months post proximal femur fixation were included. CTPA studies and reports were assessed for quality and findings. D-Dimer results, if performed within 72 hours of the CTPA study, were recorded.


1388 patients underwent neck of femur fracture repair in the 28-month study period. Of this cohort 71 CTPA studies were performed in 71 patients (5.2%) with a mean age of 77.8 years (range 38 - 100). 53 (74.6%) of studies were negative for embolus and 17 (23.9%) studies revealed clot in a pulmonary artery (1 saddle embolus, 2 main pulmonary artery emboli, 7 lobar vessel emboli, 2 segmental artery emboli, 5 subsegmental emboli). Overall PE detection rate was 1.2% of our total study population. In all 71 studies, Houndsfield Unit (HU) in the main pulmonary artery (PA) was >200; which is considered to be of satisfactory quality to assess for segmental pulmonary emboli. 32% of patients had D Dimer levels performed, however no relationship with presence of PE on CTPA was demonstrated.


The rate of positive CTPA studies in patients undergoing proximal femur fracture repair is 23.9% in our patient population, comparing favorably to published data. This is likely to reflect good compliance with prevention measures at ward level. D-Dimer results are unreliable for PE prediction.

Keywords: Hip fracture, Pulmonary emboli, CTPA, Pulmonary angiogram, Proximal, Femur.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 12
First Page: 236
Last Page: 251
Publisher Id: TOORTHJ-12-236
DOI: 10.2174/1874325001812010236

Article History:

Received Date: 5/3/2018
Revision Received Date: 20/4/2018
Acceptance Date: 24/5/2018
Electronic publication date: 19/7/2018
Collection year: 2018

© 2018 Moriarty et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland; Tel: +353863823949; E-mails:;

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