The YEARS algorithm for suspected pulmonary embolism: shorter visit time and reduced costs at the emergency department

J Thromb Haemost. 2018 Apr;16(4):725-733. doi: 10.1111/jth.13972. Epub 2018 Mar 13.


Essentials The YEARS algorithm was designed to simplify the diagnostic workup of suspected pulmonary embolism. We compared emergency ward turnaround time of YEARS and the conventional algorithm. YEARS was associated with a significantly shorter emergency department visit time of ˜60 minutes. Treatment of pulmonary embolism was initiated 53 minutes earlier with the YEARS algorithm SUMMARY: Background Recently, the safety of the YEARS algorithm, designed to simplify the diagnostic work-up of pulmonary embolism (PE), was demonstrated. We hypothesize that by design, YEARS would be associated with a shorter diagnostic emergency department (ED) visit time due to simultaneous assessment of pre-test probability and D-dimer level and reduction in number of CT scans. Aim To investigate whether implementation of the YEARS diagnostic algorithm is associated with a shorter ED visit time compared with the conventional algorithm and to evaluate the associated cost savings. Methods We selected consecutive outpatients with suspected PE from our hospital included in the YEARS study and ADJUST-PE study. Different time-points of the diagnostic process were extracted from the to-the-minute accurate electronic patients' chart system of the ED. Further, the costs of the ED visits were estimated for both algorithms. Results All predefined diagnostic turnaround times were significantly shorter after implementation of YEARS: patients were discharged earlier from the ED; 54 min (95% CI, 37-70) for patients managed without computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) and 60 min (95% CI, 44-76) for the complete study population. Importantly, patients diagnosed with PE by CTPA received the first dose of anticoagulants 53 min (95% CI, 22-82) faster than those managed according to the conventional algorithm. Total costs were reduced by on average €123 per visit. Conclusion YEARS was shown to be associated with a shorter ED visit time compared with the conventional diagnostic algorithm, leading to faster start of treatment in the case of confirmed PE and savings on ED resources.

Keywords: diagnosis; hospital emergency service; management; pulmonary embolism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cost Savings
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Emergency Medical Services / economics*
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Female
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / analysis
  • Hospital Costs*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / economics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Program Evaluation
  • Pulmonary Embolism / blood
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / economics*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy
  • Time-to-Treatment / economics
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / economics
  • Unnecessary Procedures / economics


  • Biomarkers
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D