Background: In patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE), studies have shown an association between coexisting deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and short-term prognosis. It is not known whether complete compression ultrasound testing (CCUS) improves the risk stratification of their disease beyond the recommended prognostic models.
Methods: We included patients with normotensive acute symptomatic PE and prognosticated them with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) risk model for PE. Subsequently, we determined the prognostic significance of coexisting DVT in patients with various ESC risk categories. The primary endpoint was a complicated course after the diagnosis of PE, defined as death from any cause, haemodynamic collapse, or adjudicated recurrent PE.
Results: According to the ESC model, 37% of patients were low-risk, 56% were intermediate-low risk, and 6.7% were intermediate-high risk. CCUS demonstrated coexisting DVT in 375 (44%) patients. Among the 313 patients with low-risk PE, coexisting DVT (46%) did not show a significant increased risk of complicated course (2.8%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.8%-7.0%), compared with those without DVT (0.6%; 95% CI, 0%-3.2%), (P = 0.18). Of the 478 patients with intermediate-low risk PE, a complicated course was 14% and 6.8% for those with and without DVT, respectively (P = 0.01). Of the 57 patients that had intermediate-high risk PE, a complicated course occurred in 17% and 18% for those with and without DVT, respectively (P = 1.0).
Conclusions: In normotensive patients with PE, testing for coexisting DVT might improve risk stratification of patients at intermediate-low risk for short-term complications.
Keywords: Deep vein thrombosis; Lower limb ultrasound testing; Mortality; Prognosis; Pulmonary embolism.
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