Septal bowing and pulmonary artery diameter on computed tomography pulmonary angiography are associated with short-term outcomes in patients with acute pulmonary embolism
Patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE) can quickly deteriorate and the condition has high mortality due to right ventricular (RV) failure. Immediately available predictors of adverse outcome are of major interest to the treating physician in the acute setting. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate if easily attainable measurements of RV function from the diagnostic computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) provide information for fast risk stratification in patients with acute PE.
We retrospectively evaluated images from CTPA in 261 patients (age median 60 years, 50% females) enrolled in a prospective study. RV and left ventricular (LV) diameters and their ratio, the presence of septal bowing, contrast reflux in the inferior vena cava, and the diameter of the central pulmonary arteries (PA) were measured. The composite outcome was 5-day severe adverse events including death, acute decompensation, or need for emergent treatment. We used Wilcoxon rank sum test and Fischer’s exact test to test between groups and multivariate logistic regression for prediction.
In multivariate analysis, increased diameter of the main PA (OR = 1.08 per 1 mm increase, p = 0.047) and the presence of septal bowing (OR = 2.23, p = 0.055) were associated with severe adverse events. RV/LV > 1 did not predict severe outcomes (OR = 0.73, p = 0.541).
Two easily attainable parameters of RV function on CTPA, septal bowing and main PA diameter, are associated with short-term adverse outcomes in patients with acute PE. Further study is required to determine whether these findings can be incorporated into clinical treatment algorithms.
KeywordsAcute pulmonary embolism Computed tomography Right ventricular function Predictors Emergency care
No funding was received for the present analysis, but the original prospective study was funded by Harvard Milton Fund.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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