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Am J Med Sci. 2013 Jun;345(6):462-9. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31826ca241.

Predicting short-term mortality in patients with pulmonary embolism: a simple model.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece.



The aim of the present study was to develop a simple prognostic rule that could classify patients with pulmonary embolism (PE) into categories of increased risk of 30-day mortality.


One hundred patients with PE were enrolled. Clinical and laboratory findings were recorded on admission for each patient. Differences between groups' survival and death were tested, and the association with the 30-day mortality was determined.


Three variables had a significant effect on survival: age, Charlson index and the alveolar to arterial (A-a) gradient. A receiver operating characteristic analysis was performed, and the cut-off points used for the comparison of survival were 67 years of age, A-a gradient over 52.8 mm Hg and Charlson index over 2. By combining these variables, a score was established for distinguishing patients with PE who are at high risk. This score was also validated in a group of 30 consecutive patients admitted to the hospital for PE Additionally, a tree method was applied and showed that for patients with a history of diabetes and Charlson index >3, the expected outcome is death.


The results of this study suggest that patients with PE could be stratified into categories of increasing risk of 30-day mortality using a simple score based only on routinely available variables. Future studies are needed to validate our prognostic model in a large cohort of patients with PE.

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