European and American suspected and confirmed pulmonary embolism populations: Comparison and analysis

A. Penaloza*, J. Kline, F. Verschuren, D. M. Courtney, F. Zech, B. Derrien, B. Vielle, A. Armand-Perroux, F. Thys, P. M. Roy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: If the prevalence of pulmonary embolism (PE) differs significantly between the US and Europe, this observation could reduce the generalizability of diagnostic protocols for PE derived in either location.Objective: To determine possible causes and potential clinical consequences of these PE prevalence differences.Methods: S econdary analysis of three prospectively collected multicenter samples (two French and one from the US) including 3174 European and 7940 American PE-suspected patients in Emergency departments (ED) (117 for Europe and 12 for US). Comparison of clinical features, resource use and outcomes of European- and US-suspected PE populations in ED.Results: European patients evaluated for PE were significantly older and had a higher clinical pretest probability (CPP) for PE. The final PE prevalence was significantly higher in Europe, in the overall sample (26.5% vs. 7.6%) and in each level of CPP. Suspected European patients categorized as low CPP had a higher posttest probability than US low CPP patients. Suspected US patients categorized as high CPP had a much lower posttest probability of PE than in Europe. The mean number of tests performed for one PE diagnosis was lower in Europe (7.4 vs. 21.6). Among patients diagnosed with PE, European patients had a higher mean severity of illness score and a higher PE-mortality rate (3.4% vs. 0.7%). Conclusions: Among patients suspected of a PE and those ultimately diagnosed with a PE, European patients had higher acuity, a higher pretest probability and worse outcome than US patients. The present study underscores the importance of disease prevalence for pretest probability scoring approaches and for significance interpretation of imaging tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Comparison
  • Emergency department
  • Europe
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Suspicion
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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