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Ann Thorac Med. 2009 Jan;4(1):13-6. doi: 10.4103/1817-1737.44779.

Outcome of patients with pulmonary embolism admitted to the intensive care unit.

Author information

  • 1Respiratory Division, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh 11324, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is an important cause of in-hospital mortality. Many patients are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) either due to hemodynamic instability or severe hypoxemia. Few reports have addressed the outcome of patients with PE; however, none were from ICUs in the Middle East.

OBJECTIVES:

To describe the demographics, clinical presentation, risk factors and outcome of patients with PE admitted to the medical ICU and to identify possible factors associated with poor prognosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Data were collected retrospectively by reviewing the records of patients admitted to the medical ICU with primary diagnosis of PE between January 2001 and June 2007. Demographic, clinical, radiological and therapeutic data were collected on admission to ICU.

RESULTS:

Fifty-six patients (43% females) with PE were admitted to the ICU during the study period. Their mean age was 40.6 ± 10.6 years. Seven patients (12.5%) had massive PE with hemodynamic instability and 15 (26.8%) had submassive PE. The remaining patients were admitted due to severe hypoxemia. Recent surgery followed by obesity were the most common risk factors (55.4 and 28.6%, respectively). Four patients with massive PE received thrombolysis because the remaining three had absolute contraindications. Fatal gastrointestinal bleeding occurred in one patient post thrombolysis. Additionally, two patients with massive PE and five with submassive PE died within 72 h of admission to the ICU, resulting in an overall mortality rate of 14%. Nonsurvivors were older and had a higher prevalence of immobility and cerebrovascular diseases compared with survivors.

CONCLUSIONS:

The mortality rate of patients with PE admitted to the ICU in our center was comparable to other published studies. Older age, immobility as well as coexistent cerebrovascular diseases were associated with a worse outcome.

KEYWORDS:

Intensive care unit; pulmonary embolism; thrombolytic agents

PMID:
19561916
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC2700473
Free PMC Article
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