Clinical prediction rules for mortality in patients with pulmonary embolism and cancer to guide outpatient management: a meta-analysis

J Thromb Haemost. 2018 Feb;16(2):279-292. doi: 10.1111/jth.13921. Epub 2018 Jan 15.


Essentials Clinical prediction rules (CPRs) can stratify patients with pulmonary embolism (PE) and cancer. A meta-analysis was done to assess prognostic accuracy in CPRs for mortality in these patients. Eight studies evaluating ten CPRs were included in this study. CPRs should continue to be used with other patient factors for mortality risk stratification.

Summary: Background Cancer treatment is commonly complicated by pulmonary embolism (PE), which remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in these patients. Some guidelines recommend the use of clinical prediction rules (CPRs) to help clinicians identify patients at low risk of mortality and therefore guide care. Objective To determine and compare the accuracy of available CPRs for identifying cancer patients with PE at low risk of mortality. Methods A literature search of Medline and Scopus (January 2000 to August 2017) was performed. Studies deriving/validating ≥ 1 CPR for early post-PE all-cause mortality were included. A bivariate, random-effects model was used to pool sensitivity and specificity estimates for each CPR. Traditional random-effects meta-analysis was performed to estimate the weighted proportion of patients deemed at low risk of early mortality, mortality in low risk patients and odds ratios for death compared with higher-risk patients. Results Eight studies evaluating 10 CPRs were included. The highest sensitivities were observed with Hestia (98.1%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 75.6-99.9%) and the EPIPHANY index (97.4%, 95% CI = 93.2-99.0%); sensitivities of remaining rules ranged from 59.9 to 96.6%. Of the six CPRs with sensitivities ≥ 95%, none had specificities > 33%. Random-effects meta-analysis suggested that 6.6-51.6% of cancer patients with PE were at low risk of mortality, 0-14.3% of low-risk patients died and low-risk patients had a 43-94% lower odds of death compared with those at higher risk. Conclusions Because of the limited total body of evidence regarding CPRs, their results, in conjunction with other pertinent patient-specific clinical factors, should continue to be used in identifying appropriate management for PE in patients with cancer.

Keywords: decision support techniques; mortality; neoplasms; pulmonary embolism; risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors