Does Right Ventricular Dysfunction Predict Mortality in Hemodynamically Stable Patients With Acute Pulmonary Embolism?

Ahmad Chaudhary, Umair Iqbal, Ayesha Jameel, Hafsa Anwar, Edward Bischof


Background: Acute pulmonary embolism (APE) is directly responsible for 100,000 deaths annually. Right ventricular dysfunction (RVD) on admission is considered a poor prognostic factor in these patients, though existing evidence of its significance in predicting mortality in hemodynamically stable patients is still unclear. We attempted to clarify this association by doing a retrospective review.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed electronic medical records of hemodynamically stable patients older than 18 years of age with APE who were admitted to a tertiary care hospital in rural Upstate New York from July 2014 to July 2016. One hundred thirty-four patients were reviewed in two groups: patients who presented with computed tomography (CT) or echocardiographic evidence of RVD, and those without RVD. To identify differences in mortality between the two groups, the Chi-square/Fisher’s exact test and t-tests were used. All variables with P < 0.2 in the initial analysis were included in a stepwise multivariable logistic regression model to predict RVD.

Results: No statistically significant difference was found in 30-day mortality between the groups (7.8% in RVD and 5.3% in no RVD, P = 0.563). The overall prevalence of RVD was found to be 57% (77/134). Troponin elevation (53.2% in RVD group vs. 19.3 in the no RVD group with P < 0.01) and central location of thrombus (53.1% vs. 32.1% with P = 0.016) were more prevalent in RVD group. A marginally significant difference was found in length of hospital stay among those with RVD versus no RVD (7.13 days vs. 5.46 days; P = 0.061). The multivariable analysis shows that the odds of RVD were greater for patients with elevated troponin levels (odds ratio = 7.8).

Conclusion: There was no difference in 30-day mortality in hemodynamically stable patients with APE having RVD compared to patients with no RVD. On the basis of this study, we do not suggest the routine use of systemic fibrinolysis in hemodynamically stable patients with radiographic evidence of RVD alone.

Cardiol Res. 2017;8(4):143-146



Right ventricular dysfunction; Acute pulmonary embolism; Fibrinolysis

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