Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with increased rates of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). Pulmonary Embolism Response Teams (PERT) have previously been associated with improved outcomes. We aimed to investigate whether PERT utilization, recommendations, and outcomes for patients diagnosed with acute PE changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a retrospective cohort study of all adult patients with acute PE who received care at an academic hospital system in New York City between March 1st and April 30th, 2020. These patients were compared against historic controls between March 1st and April 30th, 2019. PE severity, PERT utilization, initial management, PERT recommendations, and outcomes were compared. There were more cases of PE during the pandemic (82 vs. 59), but less PERT activations (26.8% vs. 64.4%, p < 0.001) despite similar markers of PE severity. PERT recommendations were similar before and during the pandemic; anticoagulation was most recommended (89.5% vs. 86.4%, p = 0.70). During the pandemic, those with PERT activations were more likely to be female (63.6% vs. 31.7%, p = 0.01), have a history of DVT/PE (22.7% vs. 1.7%, p = 0.01), and to be SARS-CoV-2 PCR negative (68.2% vs. 38.3% p = 0.02). PERT activation during the pandemic is associated with decreased length of stay (7.7 ± 7.7 vs. 13.2 ± 12.7 days, p = 0.02). PERT utilization decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic and its activation was associated with different biases. PERT recommendations and outcomes were similar before and during the pandemic, and led to decreased length of stay during the pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19; Pulmonary Embolism Response Team; Pulmonary embolism; SARS-CoV-2; Venous thromboembolism.