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

Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis Over & Underutilized in Some Hospitalized Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Paul Grant, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine Associate Chief Medical Information Officer Director, Perioperative and Consultative Medicine Division of Hospital Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Michigan Medicine University of Michigan

Dr. Grant

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Chief Medical Information Officer
Director, Perioperative and Consultative Medicine
Division of Hospital Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Michigan Medicine
University of Michigan

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

Response: It is well known that hospitalized medical patients are at risk for venous thromboembolism VTE, but the severity of patient risk can vary significantly. National guidelines have consistently stated that low-risk patients should not receive VTE prophylaxis beyond early ambulation.

In this retrospective cohort study, we analyzed data from 52 hospitals participating in the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety consortium. Trained medical record abstractors at each hospital collected data from 44,775 medical patients including VTE risk factors, type of VTE prophylaxis administered, and contraindications to pharmacologic prophylaxis. Individual patient risk of VTE was determined using the Padua risk assessment model.

Of the 32,549 low-risk patients, 77.9% received excess venous thromboembolism prophylaxis as either pharmacologic prophylaxis (30.6%), mechanical prophylaxis (20.8%), or both (26.5%). In the 12,226 high-risk patients, VTE prophylaxis was underused in 22% of patients. The rates of inappropriate prophylaxis varied considerably by hospital.  Continue reading

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
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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C-section carries a 4-fold increased risk of blood clots, compared with vaginal deliveries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marc Blondon, MD
Division of Angiology and Hemostasis, Department of Specialties of Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland
Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center, Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development, Seattle, WA

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

Response: Venous thromboembolism, a condition including deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) and pulmonary embolism, is more common in older than younger patients. However, pregnancy and particularly the postpartum period are times at greater risk of blood clots in women. It is important to understand the risk and the risk factors for thrombosis in the postpartum period to guide the use of preventive measures such as heparin, an anticoagulant treatment, or leg compression devices.

Our study summarizes the evidence on the link between C-sections and blood clots from the past 35 years.
Our meta-analysis demonstrates that:

  • C-section carries a 4-fold increased risk of blood clots in the postpartum period, compared with vaginal deliveries ;
  • that this risk is most prominent but not restricted to emergency C-section ;
  • and that women who undergo elective C-section are also at higher risk than women who have a vaginal delivery.
  • Importantly, we estimated an absolute risk of blood clots after a C-section of 2-4 per 1000 pregnancies: on average, 3 out of 1000 women after C-section will develop a blood clot.

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Study Confirms Validity of Bova Score For Pulmonary Embolism Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David Jimenez PhD, FCCP
Respiratory Department and Medicine Department
Ramon y Cajal Hospital IRYCIS, and Alcala de Henares University
Madrid Spain

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Jimenez: Normotensive patients that have an estimated high-risk for pulmonary embolism (PE)-related complications (i.e., intermediate-risk PE) might benefit from surveillance in an intensive care setting or from the administration of specific advanced therapy. The Bova score was developed for identifying these patients. This study confirms the validity and reproducibility of the Bova score.

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Duration of Anticoagulation After Primary Pulmonary Embolism Clarified

Professor Francis Couturaud, MD, PhD Department of Internal Medicine and Chest Diseases University Hospital Center of Brest Brest, FranceMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Francis Couturaud, MD, PhD
Department of Internal Medicine and Chest Diseases
University Hospital Center of Brest
Brest, France

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Couturaud: Patients who have completed 3 to 6 months of anticoagulation for a first episode of pulmonary embolism that was not provoked by a major transient risk factor, such as surgery or prolonged immobilization, have a high risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism after stopping anticoagulation. In this high-risk population, extending anticoagulation beyond 3 to 6 months is associated with a major reduction in recurrences as long as the treatment is continued. However, whether this benefit is maintained thereafter remains uncertain, as in most previous studies, patients were not followed after treatment discontinuation. In addition, while extending anticoagulation is very effective in preventing recurrent venous thromboembolism, anticoagulation is also associated with an increased risk of bleeding. Therefore, in patients with a first episode of unprovoked pulmonary embolism, the optimal duration of anticoagulation remains uncertain.

In the PADIS-PE multicenter, double-blind, randomized trial that included 371 patients with a first episode of unprovoked pulmonary embolism initially treated during 6 months, we aimed to evaluate the benefit and risk of an additional 18 months of warfarin therapy versus placebo during the 18-month study treatment period and during an additional 2 years of follow-up after study treatment discontinuation.

The main findings are the followings: during the study treatment period, we found a 80% reduction in the relative risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism or major bleeding, mainly driven by the 90% risk reduction of recurrences; however, during the post-treatment follow-up period of two years, the benefit was lost, and the risks of recurrent venous thromboembolism and major bleeding were not different between the 2 groups. In addition, recurrent venous thromboembolism occurred as pulmonary embolism in 80% of cases (8% were fatal) and were unprovoked in 90% of cases.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Couturaud: Our study provides convincing result that extended but limited duration of anticoagulation does not improve the long-term prognosis of a first episode of unprovoked pulmonary.

The consequences for clinicians are the followings:

First, only two options of management should be discussed: either a conventional duration of 3 to 6 months or an indefinite duration of anticoagulation.

Second, more than ever, the individual risk factors of recurrent VTE if anticoagulation is stopped and risk factors of bleeding if anticoagulation is continued should be carefully identified and weighted in order to propose the most adequate long-term secondary prevention (long-term anticoagulation or specific prophylactic counseling in high-risk situations). This evaluation should also included patient’s preference.

Third, the benefit risk ratio of indefinite anticoagulation should be serially evaluated in these patients not only if indefinite anticoagulation is decided but also if anticoagulation is stopped as patient’s profile will change over the time (age, additional comorbidities, etc.) and in order to determine if anticoagulation should be stopped or started again.

For the patients, once the first episode of unprovoked pulmonary embolism, they should be informed about their high risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism if anticoagulation is stopped and their risk of bleeding if anticoagulation is continued. They also should be informed that recurrent venous thromboembolism occurs more often as pulmonary embolism; in this setting, patients should be informed about clinical symptoms of pulmonary embolism but also of deep vein thrombosis and the links between these two entities. This will help people to express their preferences.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Couturaud: : The first issue is to identify, among patients with unprovoked venous thromboembolism, those who have a lower risk of recurrence that may not justify indefinite anticoagulation. Several predictive scores, combining clinical variables such at gender, age, and tests such as D-dimer have been derived but prospective validation is not yet available.
The second issue is to explore long-term secondary thrombo-prophylaxis strategies with a lower risk of bleeding and a similar efficacy. This is currently the case with aspirin and low dose of Direct Oral Anticoagulants. However, additional studies are needed to determine if such strategies have a better benefit risk ratio than conventional anticoagulation.

Citation:

Professor Francis Couturaud, MD, PhD, & Department of Internal Medicine and Chest Diseases (2015). Duration of Anticoagulation After Primary Pulmonary Embolism Clarified 

ICU Admission For Pulmonary Embolism Varies By Hospital

Dr. Colin Cooke MD, MSc, MS Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine University of Michigan Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy Ann Arbor, MIMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Colin Cooke MD, MSc, MS
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
University of Michigan
Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy
Ann Arbor, MI

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Cooke: We determined that when patients who are hospitalized for pulmonary embolism (PE), a blood clot in the lung, approximately 1 in 5 will be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). However, the chances that a patient will go to an ICU is highly dependent upon which hospital they are admitted to. For example, some hospitals admitted only 3% of patients with pulmonary embolism to an ICU while others admitted almost 80%.

Importantly, the differences in how hospitals use their ICU for patients with pulmonary embolism was not entirely related to the patient’s need for life support measures, the things that the ICU is designed to deliver. For example, the ICU patients in high ICU-use hospitals tended to receive fewer procedures, including mechanical ventilation, arterial catheterization, central lines, and medications to dissolve blood clots. This suggest that high utilizing hospitals are admitting patients to the ICU with weaker indications for ICU admission.
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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: Thrombolytic Therapy Benefits Must Be Balanced With Risk of Cerebral Bleed

Jay Giri, MD MPH Assistant Professor, Perelman School of Medicine Director, Peripheral Intervention Interventional Cardiology & Vascular Medicine Cardiovascular Division University of PennsylvaniaMedicalResearch Interview with:
Jay Giri, MD MPH
Assistant Professor, Perelman School of Medicine
Director, Peripheral Intervention
Interventional Cardiology & Vascular Medicine
Cardiovascular Division
University of Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Giri: Use of thrombolytics was associated with lower all-cause mortality and increased rates of intracranial hemorrhage.  These results were also seen in intermediate-risk pulmonary embolism.  Finally, it appeared that patients under age 65 might be at less bleeding risk from thrombolytics.
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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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Pulmonary Embolism: Evaluation of Age-Adjusted Threshold of D-Dimer Blood Test

Scott C. Woller, MD Co-Director Thrombosis Program Intermountain Medical Center Associate Professor of Internal Medicine University of Utah School of Medicine Murray, UT 84157-7000MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Scott C. Woller, MD
Co-Director Thrombosis Program
Intermountain Medical Center
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
University of Utah School of Medicine
Murray, UT 84157-7000

Dr. Woller: By way of background, D-dimer, a simple blood test that is used to investigate the diagnosis of suspected pulmonary embolism (PE), and it increases with age.  Recent research suggests that the use of an age-adjusted d-dimer threshold may improve diagnostic efficiency without compromising safety. We wished to assess the safety of using an age-adjusted d-dimer threshold in the work-up of patients with suspected pulmonary embolism.

MedicalResearch:  What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Woller: In this retrospective cohort study we identified 923 patients age > 50 years who presented to our emergency department with suspected pulmonary embolism, and had their pretest probability of PE calculated along with a d-dimer performed. All patients underwent computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA). We observed that among patients unlikely to have PE, adoption of an age-adjusted D-dimer cut-off (compared with a conventional D-dimer cut-off) reduced the need for CTPA in an additional 18.3% of patients, and was associated with a low 90-day rate of failure to diagnose PE.
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Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism: Using Age-Adjusted D-Dimer Cutoff Levels

Marc Righini, MD Division of Angiology and Hemostasis Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, SwitzerlandMedical Research.com Interview with:
Marc Righini, MD
Division of Angiology and Hemostasis
Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland

 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of this study?

Dr. Righini: The study shows that when compared with a fixed D-Dimer cutoff of 500 ng/ml, the combination of pretest clinical probability assessment with age-adjusted D-dimer cut-off was associated  with a larger number of patients in whom Pulmonary Embolism  could be excluded, with a low likelihood of recurrent VTE. The benefit was the most important in patients  75 years or older, in whom using the age-adjusted cutoff instead of the 500 ng/ml cutoff increased five-fold the proportion of patients in whom PE could be excluded on the basis of D-dimer measurement.
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