Management of Low-Risk Pulmonary Embolism Patients Without Hospitalization: The Low-Risk Pulmonary Embolism Prospective Management Study

Chest. 2018 Aug;154(2):249-256. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2018.01.035. Epub 2018 Feb 2.


Background: The efficacy and safety of managing patients with low-risk pulmonary embolism (PE) without hospitalization requires objective data from US medical centers. We sought to determine the 90-day composite rate of recurrent symptomatic VTE, major bleeding events, and all-cause mortality among consecutive patients diagnosed with acute low-risk PE managed without inpatient hospitalization; and to measure patient satisfaction.

Methods: We performed a prospective cohort single-arm management study conducted from January 2013 to October 2016 in five EDs. We enrolled 200 consecutive adults diagnosed with objectively confirmed acute PE and assessed to have a low risk for mortality using the Pulmonary Embolism Severity Index (PESI) score (< 86), echocardiography, and whole-leg compression ultrasound (CUS). The primary intervention was observation in the ED or hospital (observation status) for > 12 to < 24 h, followed by outpatient management with Food and Drug Administration-approved therapeutic anticoagulation. Patients were excluded for a PESI ≥ 86, echocardiographic signs of right heart strain, DVT proximal to the popliteal vein, hypoxia, hypotension, hepatic or renal failure, contraindication to therapeutic anticoagulation, or another condition requiring hospital admission. The primary outcome was 90-day composite rate of all-cause mortality, recurrent symptomatic VTE, and major bleeding.

Results: The composite outcome occurred in one of 200 patients (90-day composite rate = 0.5%; 95% CI, 0.02%-2.36%). No patient suffered recurrent VTE or died during the 90-day follow-up period. A major bleed occurred in one patient. Patients indicated a high level of satisfaction with their care.

Conclusions: Treatment of carefully selected patients with acute PE and low risk by PESI < 86, echocardiography, and CUS without inpatient hospitalization is safe and acceptable to patients. Results must be viewed with caution because of the small sample size relative to the end point and the generalizability surrounding availability of emergent echocardiography.

Trial registry:; No.: NCT02355548; URL:

Keywords: outpatient PE; pulmonary embolism.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Cause of Death
  • Computed Tomography Angiography
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anticoagulants

Associated data