Introduction: PERC rule was created to rule out pulmonary embolism (PE) without further exams, with residual PE risk<2%. Its safety is currently not confirmed in high PE prevalence populations even when combined with low clinical probability assessed by revised Geneva score (RGS). As PERC rule and RGS are 2 similar explicit rules with many redundant criteria, we hypothesized that the combination of PERC rule with gestalt clinical probability could resolve this limitation.
Methods: We collected prospectively documented clinical gestalt assessments and retrospectively calculated PERC rules and RGS from a prospective study of PE suspected patients. We analyzed performance of combinations of negative PERC with low clinical probability assessed by both methods in high overall PE prevalence population.
Results: Among the final study population (n = 959), the overall PE prevalence was 29.8%. Seventy-four patients (7.7%) were classified as PERC negative and among them, 4 patients (5.4%) had final diagnosis of PE. When negative PERC was combined with low pretest probability assessed by RGS or gestalt assessment, PE prevalence was respectively 6.2% and 0%. This last combination reaches threshold target of 2% and unnecessary exams could easily have been avoided in this subgroup (6%). However, it confidence interval was still wide (0%; CI 0-5).
Conclusions: PERC rule combined with low gestalt probability seems to identify a group of patients for whom PE could easily be ruled out without additional test. A larger study is needed to confirm this result and to ensure safety.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.