Optimal follow-up after acute pulmonary embolism: a position paper of the European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Pulmonary Circulation and Right Ventricular Function, in collaboration with the European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology, endorsed by the European Respiratory Society

Eur Heart J. 2022 Jan 25;43(3):183-189. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehab816.


This position paper provides a comprehensive guide for optimal follow-up of patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE), covering multiple relevant aspects of patient counselling. It serves as a practical guide to treating patients with acute PE complementary to the formal 2019 European Society of Cardiology guidelines developed with the European Respiratory Society. We propose a holistic approach considering the whole spectrum of serious adverse events that patients with acute PE may encounter on the short and long run. We underline the relevance of assessment of modifiable risk factors for bleeding, of acquired thrombophilia and limited cancer screening (unprovoked PE) as well as a dedicated surveillance for the potential development of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension as part of routine practice; routine testing for genetic thrombophilia should be avoided. We advocate the use of outcome measures for functional outcome and quality of life to quantify the impact of the PE diagnosis and identify patients with the post-PE syndrome early. Counselling patients on maintaining a healthy lifestyle mitigates the risk of the post-PE syndrome and improves cardiovascular prognosis. Therefore, we consider it important to discuss when and how to resume sporting activities soon after diagnosing PE. Additional patient-relevant topics that require Focused counselling are travel and birth control.

Keywords: Anticoagulation therapy; Bleeding; Cardiovascular diseases; Contraceptive agents; Neoplasms; Pulmonary embolism; Pulmonary hypertension; Sports; Thrombophilia; Travel.

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis*
  • Biology
  • Cardiology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Circulation
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Ventricular Function, Right