Int J Angiol 2023; 32(03): 193
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-1761291
Letter to the Editor

Increased Prevalence of Pulmonary Embolism during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the US: An Infodemiological Analysis

Camilla Mattiuzzi
1   Service of Clinical Governance, Provincial Agency for Social and Sanitary Services (APSS), Trento, Italy
2   Section of Clinical Biochemistry and School of Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
› Author Affiliations
FundingThis article received no funding.

Recent evidence has been provided that the burden of pulmonary embolism (PE) may be dramatically high in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), thus paving the way to a renewed focus on percutaneous management.[1] To provide further insights on this important matter, we conducted an infodemiological analysis to establish whether the volume of Web searches for PE has contextually increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, thus reliably reflecting an enhanced burden of this pathology.

We investigated Google Trends (Google Inc., Mountain View, CA) with using the keywords “pulmonary embolism” within the definition of “condition,” setting the geographical location to “United States,” and limiting our analysis to the past 5 years (i.e., from August 2017 to August 2022). The weekly Google Trends score for the search term was downloaded into a Microsoft Excel file (Microsoft, Redmond, WA). We then classified the search period as “PE Pre-COVID-19” (between August 2017 and February 2020) and “PE COVID-19” (between March 2020 and August 2022). The weekly Google Trends score, thus mirroring the volume of Google searches for PE, was reported as median and interquartile range (IQR), and the difference between the Pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods was analyzed with Mann–Whitney test (Analyse-it Software Ltd, Leeds, U.K.). The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, under the terms of relevant local legislation. This analysis was based on electronic searches in an open and publicly available repository (Google Trends), and thus no informed consent or Ethical Committee approvals were necessary.

The results of this infodemiological analysis are summarized in [Fig. 1], showing that the median weekly Google Trends score for “PE” has significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic (48; IQR, 45–53) compared to the period before (45; IQR, 42–50; p < 0.001).

Zoom Image
Fig. 1 Weekly Google Trends score for “pulmonary embolism” (PE), before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the U.S.

The results of this infodemiological analysis seemingly attest that the burden of PE may have indeed increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, as attested by an enhanced interest for this condition reflected by a concomitantly augmented volume of Google searches.

Publication History

Article published online:
25 January 2023

© 2023. International College of Angiology. This article is published by Thieme.

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