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Chest. 2018 May;153(5):1153-1159. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2017.11.007. Epub 2017 Nov 15.

Preemptive Anticoagulation in Patients With a High Pretest Probability of Pulmonary Embolism: Are Guidelines Followed?

Author information

1
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.
2
Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, UT.
3
Medical Informatics, Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, UT; Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, UT.
4
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, UT.
5
Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, UT.
6
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, UT. Electronic address: greg.elliott@imail.org.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Guidelines suggest anticoagulation of patients with high pretest probability of pulmonary embolism (PE) while awaiting diagnostic test results (preemptive anticoagulation). Data relevant to the practice of preemptive anticoagulation are not available.

METHODS:

We reviewed 3,500 consecutive patients who underwent CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) at two EDs. We classified the pretest probability for PE using the revised Geneva Score (RGS) as low (RGS 0-3), intermediate (RGS 4-10), or high (RGS 11-18). We classified patients with a high pretest probability of PE as receiving preemptive anticoagulation if therapeutic anticoagulation was given before CTPA completion. Patients with a high bleeding risk and those receiving treatment for DVT before CTPA were excluded from the preemptive anticoagulation analysis. We compared the time elapsed between ED registration and CTPA completion for patients with a low, intermediate, and high pretest probability for PE.

RESULTS:

We excluded three of 3,500 patients because CTPA preceded ED registration. Of the remaining 3,497 patients, 167 (4.8%) had a high pretest probability for PE. After excluding 29 patients for high bleeding risk and 21 patients who were treated for DVT prior to CTPA, only two of 117 patients (1.7%) with a high pretest probability for PE received preemptive anticoagulation. Furthermore, 37 of the remaining 115 patients (32%) with a high pretest probability for PE had a preexisting indication for anticoagulation but did not receive preemptive anticoagulation. The time from ED registration to CTPA completion did not differ based on the pretest probability of PE.

CONCLUSIONS:

Physicians rarely use preemptive anticoagulation in patients with a high pretest probability for PE. Clinicians do not expedite CTPA examinations for patients with a high pretest probability for PE.

KEYWORDS:

CT pulmonary angiography; DVT; VTE; anticoagulation; pulmonary embolism

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