Electronic Decision Support Facilitates Home Discharge of Some PE Patients From ER

Dr-David R Vinson

Dr. Vinson

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David R. Vinson, MD
Department of Emergency Medicine
Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center Sacramento, CA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: At least one-third of emergency department (ED) patients with acute blood clots in the lung, or pulmonary embolism (PE), are eligible for expedited discharged to home, either directly from the ED or after a short (<24 hour) period of observation. Yet in in most hospitals in the U.S. and around the world nearly all ED patients with acute PE are hospitalized. These unnecessary hospitalizations are a poor use of health care resources, tie up inpatient beds, and expose patients to the cost, inconvenience, and risk of inpatient care. The better-performing medical centers have two characteristics in common: they help their physicians identify which PE patients are candidates for outpatient care and they facilitate timely post-discharge follow-up. At Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC), we have had the follow-up system in place for some time, but didn’t have a way to help our physicians sort out which patients with acute PE would benefit from home management.

To correct this, we designed a secure, web-based clinical decision support system that was integrated with the electronic health record. When activated, it presented to the emergency physician the validated PE Severity Index, which uses patient demographics, vital signs, examination findings, and past medical history to classify patients into different risk strata, correlated with eligibility for home care. To make use of the PE Severity Index easier and more streamlined for the physician, the tool drew in information from the patient’s comprehensive medical records to accurately auto-populate the PE Severity Index. The tool then calculated for the physician the patient’s risk score and estimated 30-day mortality, and also offered a site-of-care recommendation, for example, “outpatient management is often possible.” The tool also reminded the physician of relative contraindications to outpatient management. At the time, only 10 EDs in KPNC had an on-site physician researcher, who for this study served as physician educator, study promotor, and enrollment auditor to provide physician-specific feedback. These 10 EDs functioned as the intervention sites, while the other 11 EDs within KPNC served as concurrent controls. Our primary outcome was the percentage of eligible ED patients with acute PE who had an expedited discharge to home, as defined above.

During the 16-month study period (8-month pre-intervention and 8-months post-intervention), we cared for 1,703 eligible ED patients with acute PE. Adjusted home discharge increased at intervention sites from 17% to 28%, a greater than 60% relative increase. There were no changes in home discharge observed at the control sites (about 15% throughout the 16-month study). The increase in home discharge was not associated with an increase in short-term return visits or major complications.  Continue reading

Some Pulmonary Embolism Patients Can Be Treated at Home

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joseph Bledsoe MD, FACEP Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Stanford Medicine Director of Research Department of Emergency Medicine Intermountain Medical Center Murray, UT 84157

Dr. Bledsoe

Joseph Bledsoe MD, FACEP
Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Stanford Medicine
Director of Research
Department of Emergency Medicine
Intermountain Medical Center
Murray, UT 84157

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Patients with blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) (PE) are routinely admitted to the hospital for blood thinning medications in the United States. However, evidence from other countries has shown that with appropriate risk stratification patients may be safe for outpatient treatment for their PE.

Our study is the largest prospective management study in the US to evaluate home treatment of patients with acute pulmonary embolism. We enrolled 200 patients and after risk stratification with the PE severity index score, leg ultrasounds and echocardiograms performed in the emergency department, patients were treated with blood thinning medications at home with routine outpatient follow up.

During the 90 day follow up period we found only one patient suffered a bleeding event after a traumatic injury, without any cases of recurrent symptomatic blood clots or death.  Continue reading

Study Finds Pulmonary Embolus Rarely the Cause of Syncope

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Giorgio Costantino MD

Dipartimento di Medicina Interna
Fondazione Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Ca’ Granda
Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico
Università degli Studi di Milano
Milan, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Syncope is a common symptom that occurs in one in four people during their lifetime. Pulmonary embolism (PE) has long been recognized as an important and serious cause of syncope. PE has always been estimated a rare cause of syncope, present in less than 1.5% of patients. A recent study (PESIT), aiming at evaluating PE prevalence using a standardized algorithm in hospitalized patients after a first syncope episode, found a prevalence of PE as high as 17% in hospitalized patients. This means that patients with a first episode of syncope should be investigated with a standard diagnostic algorithm to exclude PE.

However, many patients might go through useless and potentially harmful tests, such as computed tomography pulmonary angiogram.

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Pulmonary Embolism May Be An Overlooked Cause of Syncope

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Paolo Prandoni, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr.Paolo Prandoni

Paolo Prandoni, M.D., Ph.D. and
Department of Cardiovascular Sciences
Vascular Medicine Unit
University of Padua, Padua

Sofia Barbar, M.D

Dr.Sofia Barbar

Sofia Barbar, M.D
Department of Internal and Emergency Medicine
Civic Hospital of Camposampiero

MedicalResearch.com: WhaWhat are the main findings?

Response: Syncope is defined as a sudden loss of consciousness due to transient global cerebral hypoperfusion characterized by rapid onset, short duration, and spontaneous complete recovery. According to the most recent guidelines, syncope can be classified as neurally-mediated, due to orthostatic hypotension and cardiovascular. Syncope is frequent in general population and represents up to 2% of all attendances in Emergency Department in Europe. The initial approach is unable to identify a plausible cause for syncope in 25-30% of cases and approximately 40% of syncope referred to an Emergency Department is then admitted to the hospital.

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is an obstruction in the pulmonary arteries interfering with both blood circulation and gas exchange and therefore representing a potentially life-threatening event. Clinical features of PE are extremely variable.

Available guidelines on syncope management consider PE as an infrequent cardiovascular cause of syncope. However, the true prevalence of pulmonary embolism in syncope-patients it is actually unknown. Moreover a workup for PE diagnosis in these patients is not suggested in the current guidelines.
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Value of H-FABP as Potential Biomarker of Pulmonary Embolism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Liang He
Department of Anesthesiology
Yan’an Hospital of Kunming City, kunming, 650051, China

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of this study?

Dr. He: We evaluated the prognostic value of plasma heart-type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP) in patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE) with the guidelines of acute PE of European Society Cardiology (ESC).

We found that higher H-FABP level (above 6 or 7 ng/ml) was associated with an increased of 30-d mortality and complicated clinical events, from six studies of 85 articles included. H-FABP has the potential to be a novel prognostic marker that can help optimize patient management strategies and risk-stratification algorithms in the population of patients with acute pulmonary embolism. However, few studies had been specifically designed to answer our research questions.
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Pulmonary Embolism: Urine Fibrinopeptide B As Screening Tool

MedicalResearch.com Interview withTimothy Fernandes, M.D., M.P.H. University of California, San Diego - La Jolla, CA
Timothy Fernandes, M.D., M.P.H.

University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of this study?

Dr. Fernandes: The fibrinopeptides are cleaved off of fibrinogen by thrombin during the generation of a new clot. These small molecules are excreted into the urine and we have developed a urine assay to measure the level of FPB. We examined the performance of urine FPB as a screening test for acute pulmonary embolism, blood clots that travel to the lungs.

The study group consisted of 344 patients: 61 (18%) with pulmonary embolism and 283 (83%) without. At a threshold of 2.5 ng/ml, urine FPB demonstrated sensitivity of 75.4% (95% CI: 62.4-85.2%), specificity of 28.9% (95% CI: 23.8-34.7%), and negative likelihood ratio of 0.18 (0.11-0.29), weighted by prevalence in the sample population. However, the thresholds of 5 ng/ml and 7.5 ng/ml had sensitivities of only 55.7% (95% CI: 42.5-68.2%), and 42.6% (30.3-55.9%), respectively.

The urine fibrinopeptide B assay at a cut-off of 2.5 ng/ml had a sensitivity of 75.4% for detecting pulmonary embolism. For diagnosis of PE, this sensitivity is comparable to previously published values for the first generation plasma latex and whole blood D-dimer assays (not as well and the D dimer ELISA assay).
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