Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jan 23;166(2):169-75.

A prediction rule to identify low-risk patients with pulmonary embolism.

Author information

Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



A simple prognostic model could help identify patients with pulmonary embolism who are at low risk of death and are candidates for outpatient treatment.


We randomly allocated 15,531 retrospectively identified inpatients who had a discharge diagnosis of pulmonary embolism from 186 Pennsylvania hospitals to derivation (67%) and internal validation (33%) samples. We derived our rule to predict 30-day mortality using classification tree analysis and patient data routinely available at initial examination as potential predictor variables. We used data from a European prospective study to externally validate the rule among 221 inpatients with pulmonary embolism. We determined mortality and nonfatal adverse medical outcomes across derivation and validation samples.


Our final model consisted of 10 patient factors (age > or = 70 years; history of cancer, heart failure, chronic lung disease, chronic renal disease, and cerebrovascular disease; and clinical variables of pulse rate > or = 110 beats/min, systolic blood pressure < 100 mm Hg, altered mental status, and arterial oxygen saturation < 90%). Patients with none of these factors were defined as low risk. The 30-day mortality rates for low-risk patients were 0.6%, 1.5%, and 0% in the derivation, internal validation, and external validation samples, respectively. The rates of nonfatal adverse medical outcomes were less than 1% among low-risk patients across all study samples.


This simple prediction rule accurately identifies patients with pulmonary embolism who are at low risk of short-term mortality and other adverse medical outcomes. Prospective validation of this rule is important before its implementation as a decision aid for outpatient treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center