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Thromb Res. 2013 Nov;132(5):515-9. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2013.08.012. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Outpatient treatment of symptomatic pulmonary embolism: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Thrombosis Program, Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.



Patients with acute deep vein thrombus (DVT) can safely be treated as outpatients. However the role of outpatient treatment in patients diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism (PE) is controversial. We sought to determine the safety of outpatient management of patients with acute symptomatic PE.


A systematic literature search strategy was conducted using MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials and all EBM Reviews. Pooled proportions for the different outcomes were calculated.


A total of 1258 patients were included in the systematic review. The rate of recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with PE managed as outpatients was 1.47% (95% CI: 0.47 to 3.0%; I(2): 65.4%) during the 3 month follow-up period. The rate of fatal PE was 0.47% (95% CI: 0.16 to 1.0%; I(2): 0%). The rates of major bleeding and fatal intracranial hemorrhage were 0.81% (95% CI: 0.37 to 1.42%; I(2): 0%) and 0.29% (95% CI: 0.06 to 0.68%; I(2): 0%), respectively. The overall 3 month mortality rate was 1.58% (95% CI: 0.71 to 2.80%; I(2): 45%). The event rates were similar if employing risk stratification models versus using clinical gestalt to select appropriate patients for outpatient management.


Independent of the risk stratification methods used, the rate of adverse events associated with outpatient PE treatment seems low. Based on our systematic review and pooled meta-analysis, low-risk patients with acute PE can safely be treated as outpatients if home circumstances are adequate.


ACCP; American College of Chest Physicians; CI; CT Pulmonary Angiogram; CTPA; Confidence Interval; DVT; Deep vein thrombus; EBM; Evidence Based Medicine; ICH; Intracranial Hemorrhage; LMWH; Low Molecular Weight Heparin; Major bleeding; Mortality; N-terminal Pro-hormone of Brain Natriuretic Peptide; NT-proBNP; Outpatient management; PE; PESI; Pulmonary Embolism; Pulmonary Embolism Severity Index; Pulmonary embolism; RCTs; Randomized Controlled Trials; UFH; Unfractionated Heparin; V/Q; VTE; VTE recurrence; Venous Thromboembolism; Ventilation-perfusion

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