Mortality risk assessment and the role of thrombolysis in pulmonary embolism

Crit Care Clin. 2011 Oct;27(4):953-67, vii-viii. doi: 10.1016/j.ccc.2011.09.008.


Acute venous thromboembolism remains a frequent disease, with an incidence ranging between 23 and 69 cases per 100,000 population per year. Of these patients, approximately one-third present with clinical symptoms of acute pulmonary embolism (PE) and two-thirds with deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Recent registries and cohort studies suggest that approximately 10% of all patients with acute PE die during the first 1 to 3 months after diagnosis. Overall, 1% of all patients admitted to hospitals die of acute PE, and 10% of all hospital deaths are PE-related. These facts emphasize the need to better implement our knowledge on the pathophysiology of the disease, recognize the determinants of death or major adverse events in the early phase of acute PE, and most importantly, identify those patients who necessitate prompt medical, surgical, or interventional treatment to restore the patency of the pulmonary vasculature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / adverse effects
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Heart Injuries / blood
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Thrombolytic Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / diagnosis


  • Biomarkers
  • Fibrinolytic Agents