Performance of 4 Clinical Decision Rules in the Diagnostic Management of Acute Pulmonary Embolism A Prospective Cohort Study

RA Douma, ICM Mos, PMG Erkens, TAC Nizet, Marcus Durian, MM Hovens, Antje Houten, HMA Hofstee, FA Klok, H ten Cate, EF Ullmann, HR Buller, PW Kamphuisen, MV Huisman

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Background: Several clinical decision rules (CDRs) are available to exclude acute pulmonary embolism (PE), but they have not been directly compared. Objective: To directly compare the performance of 4 CDRs (Wells rule, revised Geneva score, simplified Wells rule, and simplified revised Geneva score) in combination with D-dimer testing to exclude PE. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: 7 hospitals in the Netherlands. Patients: 807 consecutive patients with suspected acute PE. Intervention: The clinical probability of PE was assessed by using a computer program that calculated all CDRs and indicated the next diagnostic step. Results of the CDRs and D-dimer tests guided clinical care. Measurements: Results of the CDRs were compared with the prevalence of PE identified by computed tomography or venous thromboembolism at 3-month follow-up. Results: Prevalence of PE was 23%. The proportion of patients categorized as PE-unlikely ranged from 62% (simplified Wells rule) to 72% (Wells rule). Combined with a normal D-dimer result, the CDRs excluded PE in 22% to 24% of patients. The total failure rates of the CDR and D-dimer combinations were similar (1 failure, 0.5% to 0.6% [ upper-limit 95% CI, 2.9% to 3.1%]). Even though 30% of patients had discordant CDR outcomes, PE was not detected in any patient with discordant CDRs and a normal D-dimer result. Limitation: Management was based on a combination of decision rules and D-dimer testing rather than only 1 CDR combined with D-dimer testing. Conclusion: All 4 CDRs show similar performance for exclusion of acute PE in combination with a normal D-dimer result. This prospective validation indicates that the simplified scores may be used in clinical practice.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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