Rationale: The nonspecific clinical presentation of pulmonary embolism (PE) frequently leads to delay in its diagnosis.
Objectives: This study aimed to assess the impact of delay in presentation on the diagnostic management and clinical outcome of patients with suspected PE.
Methods: In 4,044 consecutive patients with suspected PE, patients presenting more than 7 days from the onset of symptoms were contrasted with those presenting within 7 days as regards the safety of excluding PE on the basis of a clinical decision rule combined with D-dimer testing. Patients were followed for 3 months to assess the rates of recurrent venous thromboembolism and mortality.
Measurements and Main Results: A delayed presentation (presentation >7 d) was present in 754 (18.6%) of the patients. The failure rate of an unlikely clinical probability and normal D-dimer test was 0.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01-2.7) for patients with and 0.5% (95% CI, 0.2-1.2) for those without diagnostic delay. D-dimer testing yielded a sensitivity of 99%(95% CI, 96-99%) and 98%(95% CI, 97-99%) in these groups, respectively. Patients with PE with diagnostic delay more frequently had centrally located PE (41% vs. 26%; P
Conclusions: PE can be safely excluded based on a clinical decision rule and D-dimer testing in patients with a delayed clinical presentation. A delayed presentation for patients who survived acute PE was associated with a more central PE location, although this did not affect the clinical outcome at 3 months.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 15-Jun-2013|
- pulmonary embolism
- diagnostic delay
- duration of symptoms
- VENOUS THROMBOEMBOLISM