A 25-year-old male presented to the emergency department with 1 week of progressive right-sided chest pain. The pain was sharp, radiated to the back, and worse with deep inspiration. He denied dyspnea and leg pain or swelling.
Many emergency department (ED) patients with cardiopulmonary symptoms such as chest pain or dyspnea are placed in observation units but do not undergo specific diagnostic testing for pulmonary embolism (PE). The role of observation units in the diagnosis of PE has not been studied. We hypothesized that there was a small but significant rate of unsuspected PE in our observation unit population.