Consider Pulmonary Embolism. In any patient who develops an unexplained tachycardia and is on bed rest, look for Virchow’s triad of risk factors for pulmonary embolism. These include venous stasis, blood vessel injury, and alterations in coagulation. (PE is part of the CCRN curriculum)
Virchow’s triad of risk factors occurs many times in our patients. For example, patients who have sepsis will have Virchow’s triad of risk factors, and so will patients who have had surgery. Those are high-risk populations. We must know when to suspect PE so that we can get the appropriate diagnostic tests and the proper treatment for our patients.