Predictors of mortality following symptomatic pulmonary embolism in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery

Thomas B. Comfere, Juraj Sprung, Kimberly A. Case, Paul T. Dye, Jamey L. Johnson, Brian A. Hall, Darrell R. Schroeder, Andrew C. Hanson, Mary E.S. Marienau, David O. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine 30-day mortality and predictors of mortality following perioperative pulmonary embolism (PE). Methods: We searched both the Mayo Clinic electronic medical records and Autopsy Registry, between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2001, for patients who developed PE within 30 days after noncardiac surgery performed under general or neuraxial anesthesia. Medical records of all identified patients were reviewed using standardized data collection forms. The association between risk factors for PE and 30-day post-PE mortality was assessed using t tests, exact binomial tests, and logistic regression. Results: We identified 158 patients with probable or definite perioperative PE. The overall 30-day mortality from the day of PE was 25.3%, i.e., 40 patients died. Hypotension requiring treatment, need for mechanical ventilation, and intensive care unit admission were the prominent univariate predictors of 30-day mortality (all P ≤ 0.001). Other significant factors were exact bi normal tests, and higher ASA physical status (P = 0.002), longer surgical time (P = 0.030), recent central vein cannulation (P = 0.021) and intraoperative use of either blood transfusions or other blood products (P = 0.010). Using multi-variable analysis, hemodynamic instability was found to be the dominant independent risk factor associated with mortality. Conclusions: Perioperative PE is associated with a high 30-day mortality. Patients who experience hemodynamic instability and require vasoactive treatment at presentation of PE have extremely low survival rates; therefore, for these patients the most aggressive therapeutic modalities should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-641
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Anesthesia
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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