Meteorologic influences on the frequency of pulmonary embolism

Invest Radiol. 1992 Aug;27(8):583-6. doi: 10.1097/00004424-199208000-00005.


Rationale and objectives: Reports published earlier this century suggested that meteorologic factors influence the incidence of pulmonary embolism. These observations were based on few patients and often lacked rigorous standards of evidence. In the current study, the authors evaluate the association between barometric pressure changes and pulmonary embolism using radionuclide ventilation-perfusion (V/Q) scan data.

Methods: Daily interpretation data for V/Q lung scans were correlated retrospectively with daily local barometric pressure changes over a 7-year period.

Results: The incidence of pulmonary embolic disease was significantly related to a decrease in barometric pressure during the 3 days preceding clinical presentation.

Conclusions: Meteorologic factors are less important than better-known risk factors for pulmonary embolism; however, their effect is demonstrable in a large data sample. This work confirms previously published associations between barometric pressure changes and the incidence of pulmonary embolism.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Meteorological Concepts*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / epidemiology*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio