Objectives: To investigate the presence of lower limb deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and prognosis in patients with symptomatic pulmonary embolism (PE).
Materials and methods: A total of 203 consecutive referral patients with PE were included. The distribution of DVT was evaluated with compression ultrasound (CUS), and all patients were then followed for 12 months for investigation of recurrence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and fatal events as adverse outcome.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 62.8 years, and 78 (38.4%) were males. DVT was found in 118 (58.1%) patients. Of these patients, 61 (30.0%) had proximal DVT. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that active cancer, inadequate anticoagulation, leg symptoms, male gender, presence of DVT, presence of proximal DVT, and previous DVT were independent risk factors for adverse outcome. A clinical risk score ranging from 0 to 10 points was generated on the basis of multivariate regression coefficients. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that an appropriate cut-off point for discriminating between the presence and the absence of an adverse event was 4. Using this category, 166 (81.8%) patients were classified as low risk and 37 (18.2%) as high risk for adverse outcome. The adverse event rates were 6.0% for the low-risk group and 59.5% for the high-risk group.
Conclusions: This study has confirmed the clinical significance of surveillance CUS in patients with a first episode of PE. Furthermore, a simple risk score on the basis of available variables can identify patients at risk of an adverse outcome in patients with PE.