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Thromb Res. 2013 Nov;132(5):500-5. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2013.06.016. Epub 2013 Oct 3.

Quality of life after pulmonary embolism as assessed with SF-36 and PEmb-QoL.

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Department of Vascular Medicine, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:



Although quality of life (QoL) is recognized as an important indicator of the course of a disease, it has rarely been addressed in studies evaluating the outcome of care for patients with pulmonary embolism (PE). This study primarily aimed to evaluate the QoL of patients with acute PE in comparison to population norms and to patients with other cardiopulmonary diseases, using a generic QoL questionnaire. Secondary, the impact of time period from diagnosis and clinical patient characteristics on QoL was assessed, using a disease-specific questionnaire.


QoL was assessed in 109 consecutive out-patients with a history of objectively confirmed acute PE (mean age 60.4 ± 15.0 years, 56 females), using the generic Short Form-36 (SF-36) and the disease specific Pulmonary Embolism Quality of Life questionnaire (PEmb-QoL). The score of the SF-36 were compared with scores of the general Dutch population and reference populations with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), a history of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), derived from the literature. Scores on the SF-35 and PEmb-QoL were used to evaluate QoL in the short-term and long-term clinical course of patients with acute PE. In addition, we examined correlations between PEmb-QoL scores and clinical patient characteristics.


Compared to scores of the general Dutch population, scores of PE patients were worse on several subscales of the SF-36 (social functioning, role emotional, general health (P<0.001), role physical and vitality (P<0.05)). Compared to patients with COPD and CHF, patients with PE scored higher (=better) on all subscales of the SF-36 (P ≤ 0.004) and had scores comparable with patients with AMI the previous year. Comparing intermediately assessed QoL with QoL assessed in long-term follow-up, PE patients scored worse on SF-36 subscales: physical functioning, social functioning, vitality (P<0.05), and on the PEmb-QoL subscales: emotional complaints and limitations in ADL (P ≤ 0.03). Clinical characteristics did not correlate with QoL as measured by PEmb-QoL.


Our study demonstrated an impaired QoL in patients after treatment of PE. The results of this study provided more knowledge about QoL in patients treated for PE.


ADL; AMI; BMI; CHF; COPD; CTEPH; IQR; LMWH; PE; PEmb-QoL; Pulmonary Embolism Quality of Life; Pulmonary embolism; Qanadli score; QoL; Quality of life; SD; SE; SF-36; Short Form-36; VTE; Venous thrombo-embolism; activities of daily living; acute myocardial infarction; body mass index; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension; congestive heart failure; interquartile range; low molecular weight heparin; pulmonary embolism; quality of life; standard deviation; standard error; venous thromboembolism

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