Westmead Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Department of Cardiology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia; South West Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is associated with a high mortality; whether echocardiographic evaluation at presentation predicts long-term adverse outcomes is of importance. We sought to determine if a composite of routinely obtained echocardiographic parameters could determine long-term adverse events in PE patients. Right ventricular (RV) size and function and right atrial (RA) size were retrospectively evaluated in 233 consecutive PE patients with an inpatient echocardiogram, and compared with 70 healthy controls; mortality at 3 years was confirmed. PE patients had increased RV size (RV parasternal long-axis diameter [RVPLAX] and RV end-diastolic volume [p < 0.001 for both]) and RA area (p < 0.001). RV function was reduced in PE patients (RV fractional area change and RV ejection fraction [p <0.001 for both]). Peak tricuspid regurgitation (TR) velocity was higher in the PE group. At follow-up (3.0 ± 2.1 years), 61 patients died; multivariable analysis demonstrated RVPLAX diameter >37 mm (hazard ratio [HR] 2.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3 to 4.2; p = 0.005), RA area >20 cm2 (HR 2.0, 95% CI 1.1 to 3.5; p = 0.016), and TR velocity >2.9 ms-1 (HR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1 to 3.4; p = 0.021), were independent echocardiographic predictors of mortality. Patients with all 3 "risk markers" had ∼17-fold increased mortality compared with those with no "risk markers" (HR 16.9, 95% CI 6.1 to 47.2; p < 0.001). In conclusion, a composite of routinely collected echocardiographic parameters, namely an enlarged RA and RV (RVPLAX diameter), and TR velocity, were independent predictors of mortality in PE patients, with an exponential increase in mortality when all 3 parameters were significantly altered. Prospective validation is required to confirm these preliminary observations.