Outcome in stable patients with acute pulmonary embolism who had right ventricular enlargement and/or elevated levels of troponin I

Am J Cardiol. 2010 Aug 15;106(4):558-63. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.03.071.


Normotensive patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE) who have increased troponin levels and right ventricular (RV) dysfunction are thought to be at high risk of death, but the level of risk is unclear. We retrospectively evaluated outcome in 1,273 stable patients with PE who had echocardiographic evaluations of RV size and/or measurement of cardiac troponin I (cTnI). In-hospital all-cause mortality was higher in those with RV enlargement (8.0%, 19 of 237, vs 3.3%, 22 of 663, p = 0.003). With an increased cTnI, irrespective of RV enlargement, all-cause mortality was 8.0% (28 of 330) versus 1.9% (15 of 835) in patients with a normal cTnI (p <0.0001). In patients with an increased cTnI combined with an enlarged right ventricle, all-cause mortality was 10.2% (12 of 118) compared to 1.9% (8 of 421) in patients who had neither (p <0.0001). These data show that increased levels of cTnI and RV enlargement are associated with an adverse outcome in stable patients with acute PE. In conclusion, increased levels of cTnI in combination with RV enlargement might indicate a group who would benefit from intense monitoring and aggressive treatment if subsequently indicated. The outcomes, however, were not extreme enough to warrant routine thrombolytic therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Right Ventricular / blood
  • Hypertrophy, Right Ventricular / diagnostic imaging
  • Hypertrophy, Right Ventricular / mortality
  • Hypertrophy, Right Ventricular / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Embolism / blood
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Troponin I / blood*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / blood
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / mortality
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / physiopathology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin I