A Multidisciplinary Pulmonary Embolism Response Team: Initial 30-Month Experience With a Novel Approach to Delivery of Care to Patients With Submassive and Massive Pulmonary Embolism

Chest. 2016 Aug;150(2):384-93. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2016.03.011. Epub 2016 Mar 19.


Background: Integrating newly developed tests and treatments for severe pulmonary embolism (PE) into clinical care requires coordinated multispecialty collaboration. To meet this need, we developed a new paradigm: a multidisciplinary Pulmonary Embolism Response Team (PERT). In this report, we provide the first longitudinal analysis of patients treated by a PERT.

Methods: Our PERT includes specialists in cardiovascular medicine and surgery, emergency medicine, hematology, pulmonary/critical care, and radiology, and is organized as a rapid response team. We prospectively captured clinical, therapeutic, and outcome data at PERT activation and during follow-up periods up to 365 days. We analyzed data collectively, and as five mutually exclusive 6-month periods. We performed Fisher exact tests and regression analysis to test for trend.

Results: In 30 months, there were 394 unique PERT activations, 314 (80%) for confirmed PE. PERT activations increased by 16% every 6 months. Most confirmed PEs were submassive (n = 143, 46%) or massive (n = 80, 26%). The PERT treated a relatively large proportion of patients with PE and systemic or catheter-directed thrombolysis (n = 35, 11%), though the most common treatment was anticoagulation alone (n = 215, 69%). Hemorrhagic complications were rare overall, especially among patients treated with catheter-directed thrombolysis. The all-cause 30-day mortality of PERT patients with confirmed PE was 12%.

Conclusions: We report our initial 30-month experience with a novel multidisciplinary PERT that rapidly engages multiple specialists to deliver efficient, organized, and evidence-based care to patients with high-risk PE. The PERT paradigm was rapidly adopted and may become a new standard of care for patients with PE.

Keywords: deep vein thrombosis; pulmonary embolism; rapid response team; thrombolysis; thrombosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiology
  • Catheterization, Swan-Ganz
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Female
  • Hematology
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Hospitals, General
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy*
  • Pulmonary Medicine
  • Radiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Thrombectomy*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy*


  • Anticoagulants