Prevalence of echocardiography use in patients hospitalized with confirmed acute pulmonary embolism

a real-world observational multicenter study

Rong Bing, Vincent Chow, Jerrett K. Lau, Liza Thomas, Leonard Kritharides, Austin Chin Chwan Ng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Background Acute pulmonary embolism (PE) carries an increased risk of death. Using transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) to assist diagnosis and risk stratification is recommended in current guidelines. However, its utilization in real-world clinical practice is unknown. We conducted a retrospective observational study to delineate the prevalence of inpatient TTE use following confirmed acute PE, identify predictors for its use and its impact on patient's outcome. Methods Clinical details of consecutive patients (2000 to 2012) from two tertiary-referral hospitals were retrieved from dedicated PE databases. All-cause and cause-specific mortality was tracked from a state-wide death registry. Results In total, 2306 patients were admitted with confirmed PE, of whom 687 (29.8%) had inpatient TTE (39.3% vs 14.4% between sites, P<0.001). Site to which patient presented, older age, cardiac failure, atrial fibrillation and diabetes were independent predictors for inpatient TTE use, while malignancy was a negative predictor. Overall mortality was 41.4% (mean followup 66.5±49.5months). Though inpatient TTE use was not an independent predictor for allcause or cardiovascular mortality in multivariable analysis, in the inpatient TTE subgroup, right ventricle-right atrial pressure gradient (hazard ratio [HR] 1.02 per-1mmHg increase, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.03) and moderate/severe aortic stenosis (HR 2.26, 95% CI 1.20-4.27) independently predicted all-cause mortality. Conclusions Inpatient TTE is used infrequently in real-world clinical settings following acute PE despite its usefulness in risk stratification, prognostication and assessing comorbid cardiac pathologies. Identifying patients that will benefit most from a TTE assessment following an acute PE episode and reducing barriers in accessing TTE should be explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168554
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

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