Thromb Haemost 1997; 78(02): 794-798
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1657630
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The Role of a Decision Rule in Symptomatic Pulmonary Embolism Patients with a Non-high Probability Ventilation-perfusion Scan

Bowine C Michel
2  Institute for Medical Technology Assessment, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
,
Philomeen M M Kuijer
1  Center for Haemostasis, Thrombosis, Atherosclerosis and Inflammation Research, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
,
Joseph McDonnell
2  Institute for Medical Technology Assessment, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
,
Edwin J R van Beek
1  Center for Haemostasis, Thrombosis, Atherosclerosis and Inflammation Research, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
,
Frans F H Rutten
2  Institute for Medical Technology Assessment, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
,
Harry R Büller
1  Center for Haemostasis, Thrombosis, Atherosclerosis and Inflammation Research, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Received 28 1997

Accepted after revision 14 April 1997

Publication Date:
12 July 2018 (online)

Summary

Background: In order to improve the use of information contained in the medical history and physical examination in patients with suspected pulmonary embolism and a non-high probability ventilation-perfusion scan, we assessed whether a simple, quantitative decision rule could be derived for the diagnosis or exclusion of pulmonary embolism. Methods: In 140 consecutive symptomatic patients with a non- high probability ventilation-perfusion scan and an interpretable pulmonary angiogram, various clinical and lung scan items were collected prospectively and analyzed by multivariate stepwise logistic regression analysis to identify the most informative combination of items. Results: The prevalence of proven pulmonary embolism in the patient population was 27.1%. A decision rule containing the presence of wheezing, previous deep venous thrombosis, recently developed or worsened cough, body temperature above 37° C and multiple defects on the perfusion scan was constructed. For the rule the area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve was larger than that of the prior probability of pulmonary embolism as assessed by the physician at presentation (0.76 versus 0.59; p = 0.0097). At the cut-off point with the maximal positive predictive value 2% of the patients scored positive, at the cut-off point with the maximal negative predictive value pulmonary embolism could be excluded in 16% of the patients. Conclusions: We derived a simple decision rule containing 5 easily interpretable variables for the patient population specified. The optimal use of the rule appears to be in the exclusion of pulmonary embolism. Prospective validation of this rule is indicated to confirm its clinical utility.