Background: Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a relatively common health problem and the third most common cause of cardiovascular death with a 15-20 percent mortality rate. Severe pulmonary arterial hypertension is not common in acute forms of the disease, and we usually expect only mild to moderate degrees of PAH in these patients. However, we have encountered numerous cases of severe pulmonary hypertension after acute PE in our practice. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the echocardiographic findings of patients admitted with documented PE in a 5 years study of two heart centers of Urmia.
Methods: In this retrospective study, the data of 183 patients with a definitive diagnosis of acute pulmonary embolism based on pulmonary CT angiography have entered the study.
Results: Of the 183 cases diagnosed with pulmonary embolism with an average age of 61.15 years, 45.4% were male and 54.6% were female. Shortness of breath, chest pain, and hemoptysis were seen in 88%, 49.2%, and 13.1% of patients, respectively. Tachypnea and tachycardia were the most common clinical findings with a frequency of 54.1%. Echocardiographic findings of right ventricular enlargement and right ventricular dysfunction were observed in 66.7% and 67.8% of patients, respectively and 42.1% of patients had severe pulmonary hypertension. We found a significant relationship between pulmonary artery pressure severity and shock state as well as in-hospital mortality. While only 3 patients out of 64 cases (4%) with normal or mildly elevated pulmonary artery pressure died in their hospital stay period, the mortality rate was 28.5% in patients with moderate or severe pulmonary artery hypertension (p-value=0.002).
Conclusion: we found a relatively high frequency of severe pulmonary artery hypertension in patients admitted with the definite diagnosis of acute pulmonary embolism and there was a significant correlation between pulmonary artery pressure severity and shock state, as well as in-hospital mortality. So, echocardiographic findings including right ventricular systolic pressure and TR velocity may have additional prognostic value in the decision making of acute PE patients and could be helpful in reducing in-hospital mortality of this complex illness provided being included in prognostic models of acute PE, based on future studies.