Epidemiology, patterns of care and mortality for patients with hemodynamically unstable acute symptomatic pulmonary embolism

Int J Cardiol. 2018 Oct 15;269:327-333. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2018.07.059. Epub 2018 Jul 17.


Background: Limited information exists about the epidemiology, management and outcomes of hemodynamically unstable patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE). We aimed to evaluate the prevalence and outcomes of unstable PE, and to assess the acute management in routine clinical practice.

Methods: This study included 34,380 patients from the RIETE registry with PE between 2001 and 2016. Primary outcomes included all-cause and PE-specific 30-day mortality. We used multivariable adjustments to calculate hazard ratios among unstable patients who did and did not receive reperfusion.

Results: Overall, 1207 patients (3.5%) presented with hemodynamic instability. All-cause 30-day mortality was 14% and 5.4% in those with versus those without hemodynamic instability (P < 0.001). Two hundred and thirty eight (20%) unstable patients received reperfusion therapy. After multivariable adjustment, reperfusion therapy was associated with non-significantly reduced 30-day all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 0.71; 95% CI, 0.45 to 1.10; P = 0.12), and significantly reduced 30-day PE-related mortality (HR 0.56; 95% CI, 0.31 to 0.99; P = 0.04). When limiting the adjusted analyses to unstable patients with right ventricular dysfunction, the difference was significant for both all-cause (HR 0.65; 95% CI, 0.42 to 1.00; P = 0.05) and PE-related mortality (HR 0.52; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.92; P = 0.02).

Conclusions: In a multinational registry of patients with PE, prevalence of hemodynamic instability was 3.5%, with high associated 30-day mortality rates. Although use of reperfusion was associated with lower mortality rates, particularly in patients with right ventricular dysfunction, it was used in only a fifth of patients.

Keywords: Mortality; Pulmonary embolism; Reperfusion therapy; Unstable.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Embolism / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy
  • Registries