Author(s): Gibson NS, Sohne M, Buller HR
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Abstract PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The identification of patients with pulmonary embolism who are at risk for mortality or severe morbidity in the early observation period is important because these patients may benefit from more aggressive initial treatment such as thrombolysis or catheter removal of the thrombus. Right ventricular dysfunction has been suggested to have a prognostic value for the occurrence of these adverse outcomes. The purpose of this review is to determine the prevalence and prognostic value of right ventricular dysfunction, in particular in normotensive patients with pulmonary embolism. The association between right ventricular dysfunction and outcome of pulmonary embolism was evaluated for studies using echocardiography, spiral computed tomography, or both to detect right ventricular dysfunction. RECENT FINDINGS: Seven studies using echocardiography with a total of 3468 patients and six studies using spiral computed tomography with a total of 868 patients were identified. The prevalence of right ventricular dysfunction with echocardiography in normotensive patients was approximately 30 to 40\%, with a positive predictive value for short-term mortality of approximately 5\%. These indices could not be calculated for normotensive patients in the studies that used spiral computed tomography. SUMMARY: The studies using echocardiography show that there is an association between right ventricular dysfunction and prognosis of pulmonary embolism in normotensive patients. Whether this is clinically useful in guiding more aggressive therapy remains to be determined, however. Thus far, the results of the studies with spiral computed tomography are too preliminary to enable definite conclusions to be drawn for the normotensive patient group.
This article was published in Curr Opin Pulm Med
and referenced in Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research