Published: 3 March 2021
Authors: Pierre-Marie Roy, MD, PhD; Emilie Friou, MD; Boris Germeau, MD; Delphine Douillet, MD; Jeffrey Allen Kline, MD, PhD; Marc Righini, MD, PhD; Grégoire Le Gal, MD, PhD; Thomas Moumneh, MD; Andrea Penaloza, MD, PhD
Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 190
Question Can a pretest probability score make it possible to rule out pulmonary embolism solely on clinical criteria and optimized D-dimer measurement to safely decrease imaging testing?
Findings In this study, the 4-Level Pulmonary Embolism Clinical Probability Score (4PEPS) was derived and validated using databases from 3 merged management studies. The safety and the efficacy of the 4PEPS strategy was confirmed in 2 external validation cohorts (false-negative rates: 0.71% and 0.89%; absolute reductions in imaging testing: −19% and −22%, respectively).
Meaning The 4PEPS strategy may lead to a substantial and safe reduction in imaging testing for patients with suspected pulmonary embolism.
Importance In patients with suspected pulmonary embolism (PE), overuse of diagnostic imaging is an important point of concern.
Objective To derive and validate a 4-level pretest probability rule (4-Level Pulmonary Embolism Clinical Probability Score [4PEPS]) that makes it possible to rule out PE solely on clinical criteria and optimized D-dimer measurement to safely decrease imaging testing for suspected PE.
Design, Setting, and Participants This study included consecutive outpatients suspected of having PE from US and European emergency departments. Individual data from 3 merged management studies (n = 11 114; overall prevalence of PE, 11%) were used for the derivation cohort and internal validation cohort. The external validation cohorts were taken from 2 independent studies, the first with a high PE prevalence (n = 1548; prevalence, 21.5%) and the second with a moderate PE prevalence (n = 1669; prevalence, 11.7%). A prior definition of pretest probability target values to achieve a posttest probability less than 2% was used on the basis of the negative likelihood ratios of D-dimer. Data were collected from January 2003 to April 2016, and data were analyzed from June 2018 to August 2019.
Main Outcomes and Measures The rate of PE diagnosed during the initial workup or during follow-up and the rate of imaging testing.
Results Of the 5588 patients in the derivation cohort, 3441 (61.8%) were female, and the mean (SD) age was 52 (18.5) years. The 4PEPS comprises 13 clinical variables scored from −2 to 5. It results in the following strategy: (1) very low probability of PE if 4PEPS is less than 0: PE ruled out without testing; (2) low probability of PE if 4PEPS is 0 to 5: PE ruled out if D-dimer level is less than 1.0 μg/mL; (3) moderate probability of PE if 4PEPS is 6 to 12: PE ruled out if D-dimer level is less than the age-adjusted cutoff value; (4) high probability of PE if 4PEPS is greater than 12: PE ruled out by imaging without preceding D-dimer test. In the first and the second external validation cohorts, the area under the receiver operator characteristic curves were 0.79 (95% CI, 0.76 to 0.82) and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.74 to 0.81), respectively. The false-negative testing rates if the 4PEPS strategy had been applied were 0.71% (95% CI, 0.37 to 1.23) and 0.89% (95% CI, 0.53 to 1.49), respectively. The absolute reductions in imaging testing were −22% (95% CI, −26 to −19) and −19% (95% CI, −22 to −16) in the first and second external validation cohorts, respectively. The 4PEPS strategy compared favorably with all recent strategies in terms of imaging testing.
Conclusions and Relevance The 4PEPS strategy may lead to a substantial and safe reduction in imaging testing for patients with suspected PE. It should now be tested in a formal outcome study.
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