Background: The prognostic role of echocardiographic right ventricular (RV) dysfunction for predicting mortality in patients with acute pulmonary embolism and a preserved systemic arterial pressure remains controversial.
Methods: We evaluated 1035 patients with pulmonary embolism from the International Cooperative Pulmonary Embolism Registry who (1) presented with systolic systemic arterial pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher and (2) who underwent echocardiography within 24 hours of a diagnosis of pulmonary embolism, showing presence (n = 405) or absence (n = 630) of RV hypokinesis. The main outcome measure was the cumulative survival rate through 30 days in patients with and without RV hypokinesis.
Results: In patients with RV hypokinesis, the initial systolic systemic pressure was lower (125 +/- 22 mm Hg vs 131 +/- 22 mm Hg; P<.001), and the initial heart rate was higher (104 +/- 21 beats per minute vs 99 +/- 22 beats per minute; P<.001) than in patients without RV hypokinesis. Cancer was less often present (14.1% vs 22.5%, P = .001). The 30-day survival rates in patients with and without RV hypokinesis were 83.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 79.3%-87.0%) and 90.6% (95% CI, 88.0%-92.6%), respectively (log-rank P value <.001). The univariate hazard ratio of RV hypokinesis for predicting 30-day mortality was 2.11 (95% CI, 1.41-3.16; P<.001). Right ventricular hypokinesis remained an independent predictor of 30-day mortality (hazard ratio, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.23-3.06) after adjusting for univariately significant predictors, including cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic lung disease, age older than 70 years, systolic arterial pressure of 100 mm Hg or lower, administration of thrombolytic therapy, and heart rate greater than 100 beats per minutes.
Conclusion: Among patients with pulmonary embolism who present with a systolic arterial pressure greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg, echocardiographic RV hypokinesis is an independent predictor of early death.