Spotlight on Diagnosing PE/DVT (The Doctor's Advocate CME)


The overall incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) --including both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) — is one case per 1000 patient years. The presenting signs and symptoms of VTE are often vague and nonspecific, and early diagnosis—often crucial to the patient’s outcome—may be challenging. A failure to diagnose can lead to a devastating patient outcome. A key to preventing medical errors and adverse outcomes, is to recognize and manage the risk factors that contribute to the failure or delay of diagnosis. Accurate and timely diagnosis of VTE can be improved with the use of diagnostic guidelines such as Wells criteria and scoring for both DVT and PE.

Course ID #: TDE 200804.0 Issue Date: 12/02/2020 Expiration Date: 12/02/2023


After completing this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Prioritize using the Wells' criteria when any risk factor that may be a sign of DVT/PE will help me focus on the correct diagnostic pathway
  • Order a D-dimer for patients with a low pretest probability of VTE
  • Directly send patients with a moderate-to-high probability of VTE for imaging studies
  • Evaluate my thinking process to prevent a narrow diagnostic focus


No individual in a position to control or influence the content of this activity has reported relevant financial relationships with commercial interests. No commercial support was provided for this activity.


The information and guidelines contained in this activity are generalized and may not apply to all practice situations. We recommend that legal advice be obtained from a qualified attorney for specific application to your practice. The information is intended for educational purposes and should be used as a reference guide only.

Course Developers

Susan Shepard, MSN, MA, RN, CPHRM, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Susan Boisvert, BSN, MHSA, CPPS, CPHRM, DFASHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Johanna Lackner, MPH, MSW, Senior Director, Continuing Professional Development, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Continuing Education Credit

The Doctors Company is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical educational activities for physicians.

The Doctors Company designates this activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Complies with State Requirements

Please SEE the Federation of State Medical Boards overview of Continuing Medical Education requirements by State. 

Technical Requirements

The activity is best experienced using the most current browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported by this platform. All activities featuring audio must have a speaker. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, JavaScript and session cookies must be enabled on your computer. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact or call 800.421.2368, extension 1243.


Visit our Resource document for this program.