Computed tomographic pulmonary angiography and prognostic significance in patients with acute pulmonary embolism

Ghuysen, A.; D'Orio, V.; Ghaye, B.; Willerns, V.; Dondelinger, R. F.; Lambermont, B.; Gerard, P.; Willems, V
November 2005
Thorax;Nov2005, Vol. 60 Issue 11, p956
Academic Journal
journal article
Background: Patients with acute pulmonary embolism (APE) present with a broad spectrum of prognoses. Computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA) has progressively been established as a first line test in the APE diagnostic algorithm, but estimation of short term prognosis by this method remains to be explored. Methods: Eighty two patients admitted with APE were divided into three groups according to their clinical presentation: pulmonary infarction (n = 21), prominent dyspnoea (n = 29), and circulatory failure (n = 32). CTPA studies included assessment of both pulmonary obstruction index and right heart overload. Haemodynamic evaluation was based on systolic aortic blood pressure, heart rate, and systolic pulmonary arterial pressure obtained non-invasively by echocardiography at the time of diagnosis of pulmonary embolism. Results: The mortality rate was 0%, 13.8% and 25% in the three groups, respectively. Neither the pulmonary obstruction index nor the pulmonary artery pressure could predict patient outcome. In contrast, a significant correlation with mortality was found using the systolic blood pressure (p<0.001) and heart rate (p<0.05), as well as from imaging parameters including right to left ventricle minor axis ratio (p<0.005), proximal superior vena cava diameter (p<0.001), azygos vein diameter (p<0.001), and presence of contrast regurgitation into the inferior vena cava (p = 0.001). Analysis from logistic regression aimed at testing for mortality prediction revealed true reclassification of 89% using radiological variables. Conclusion: These results suggest that CTPA quantification of right ventricular strain is an accurate predictor of in-hospital death related to pulmonary embolism.


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