Published: 5 January 2021

Authors: Francis Couturaud, MD, PhD; Laurent Bertoletti, MD, PhD; Jean Pastre, MD; Pierre-Marie Roy, MD, PhD; Raphael Le Mao, MD; Frédéric Gagnadoux, MD, PhD; Nicolas Paleiron, MD, MS; Jeannot Schmidt, MD; Olivier Sanchez, MD, PhD; Elodie De Magalhaes, MD; Mariam Kamara, MD, MS1; Clément Hoffmann, MD; Luc Bressollette, MD, PhD; Michel Nonent, MD, PhD; Cécile Tromeur, MD, PhD; Pierre-Yves Salaun, MD, PhD; Sophie Barillot, MS; Florence Gatineau, MS; Patrick Mismetti, MD, PhD; Philippe Girard, MD; Karine Lacut, MD, PhD; Catherine A. Lemarié, PhD; Guy Meyer, MD; Christophe Leroyer, MD, PhD; for the PEP Investigators

Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 190


    Importance  The prevalence of pulmonary embolism in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acutely worsening respiratory symptoms remains uncertain.

    Objective  To determine the prevalence of pulmonary embolism in patients with COPD admitted to the hospital for acutely worsening respiratory symptoms.

    Design, Setting, and Participants  Multicenter cross-sectional study with prospective follow-up conducted in 7 French hospitals. A predefined pulmonary embolism diagnostic algorithm based on Geneva score, D-dimer levels, and spiral computed tomographic pulmonary angiography plus leg compression ultrasound was applied within 48 hours of admission; all patients had 3-month follow-up. Patients were recruited from January 2014 to May 2017 and the final date of follow-up was August 22, 2017.

    Exposures  Acutely worsening respiratory symptoms in patients with COPD.

    Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was pulmonary embolism diagnosed within 48 hours of admission. Key secondary outcome was pulmonary embolism during a 3-month follow-up among patients deemed not to have venous thromboembolism at admission and who did not receive anticoagulant treatment. Other outcomes were venous thromboembolism (pulmonary embolism and/or deep vein thrombosis) at admission and during follow-up, and 3-month mortality, whether venous thromboembolism was clinically suspected or not.

    Results  Among 740 included patients (mean age, 68.2 years [SD, 10.9 years]; 274 women [37.0%]), pulmonary embolism was confirmed within 48 hours of admission in 44 patients (5.9%; 95% CI, 4.5%-7.9%). Among the 670 patients deemed not to have venous thromboembolism at admission and who did not receive anticoagulation, pulmonary embolism occurred in 5 patients (0.7%; 95% CI, 0.3%-1.7%) during follow-up, including 3 deaths related to pulmonary embolism. The overall 3-month mortality rate was 6.8% (50 of 740; 95% CI, 5.2%-8.8%). The proportion of patients who died during follow-up was higher among those with venous thromboembolism at admission than the proportion of those without it at admission (14 [25.9%] of 54 patients vs 36 [5.2%] of 686; risk difference, 20.7%, 95% CI, 10.7%-33.8%; P < .001). The prevalence of venous thromboembolism was 11.7% (95% CI, 8.6%-15.9%) among patients in whom pulmonary embolism was suspected (n = 299) and was 4.3% (95% CI, 2.8%-6.6%) among those in whom pulmonary embolism was not suspected (n = 441).

    Conclusions and Relevance  Among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease admitted to the hospital with an acute worsening of respiratory symptoms, pulmonary embolism was detected in 5.9% of patients using a predefined diagnostic algorithm. Further research is needed to understand the possible role of systematic screening for pulmonary embolism in this patient population.

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