Scientists are calling for more studies to improve the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE) during pregnancy.

Researchers wrote that existing clinical guidelines provide only weak recommendations surrounding the selection of appropriate diagnostic methods for suspected PE in pregnant patients, primarily because of a lack of data from clinical trials.

Despite low incidence, PE is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality, with several challenges impeding clinicians’ ability to make a proper diagnosis. For example, guidelines are highly varied and extrapolate almost entirely from results in nonpregnant patients because only a few observational studies in pregnant patients exist.