The aim of the present study was to evaluate the clinical characteristics and mortality in patients with pulmonary embolism during 1995-1998. The diagnosis of pulmonary embolism in 183 patients was confirmed based on the clinical and lung scan findings. Compared to previous studies fewer cases with pulmonary embolism after surgery, immobilisation and history of trauma to lower extremity were noted. Deep vein thrombosis and electrocardiographic signs of acute right ventricular strains were found frequently, and should support the suspicion of pulmonary embolism. A normal plasma fibrin D-dimer was noted in several patients. When using the D-dimer for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism the result given depends on the assay method used, the assay specific discriminatory level and duration of symptoms. The total one year mortality was 16% whereas the mortality due to pulmonary embolism was 6%.