Prognostic significance of deep vein thrombosis in patients presenting with acute symptomatic pulmonary embolism

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 May 1;181(9):983-91. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200908-1204OC. Epub 2010 Jan 28.


Rationale: Concomitant deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE) has an uncertain prognostic significance.

Objectives: In a cohort of patients with PE, this study compared the risk of death in those with and those without concomitant DVT.

Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of outpatients diagnosed with a first episode of acute symptomatic PE. Patients underwent bilateral lower extremity venous compression ultrasonography to assess for concomitant DVT.

Measurements and main results: The primary study outcome, all-cause mortality, and the secondary outcome of PE-specific mortality were assessed during the 3 months of follow-up after PE diagnosis. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression was done to adjust for significant covariates. Of 707 patients diagnosed with PE, 51.2% (362 of 707) had concomitant DVT and 10.9% (77 of 707) died during follow-up. Patients with concomitant DVT had an increased all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 2.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24 to 3.38; P = 0.005) and PE-specific mortality (adjusted HR, 4.25; 95% CI, 1.61 to 11.25; P = 0.04) compared with those without concomitant DVT. In an external validation cohort of 4,476 patients with acute PE enrolled in the international multicenter RIETE Registry, concomitant DVT remained a significant predictor of all-cause (adjusted HR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.28 to 2.15; P < 0.001) and PE-specific mortality (adjusted HR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.18 to 3.44; P = 0.01).

Conclusions: In patients with a first episode of acute symptomatic PE, the presence of concomitant DVT is an independent predictor of death in the ensuing 3 months after diagnosis. Assessment of the thrombotic burden should assist with risk stratification of patients with acute PE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Embolism / complications*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality*
  • Recurrence
  • Ultrasonography
  • Venous Thrombosis / complications*
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging