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Clinical Investigations: PULMONARY CIRCULATION |

Clinical Outcome After a Negative Spiral CT Pulmonary Angiographic Finding in an Inpatient Population From Cardiology and Pneumology Wards*

Katia Bourriot, MD; Thierry Couffinhal, MD, PhD; Virginie Bernard, MD; Michel Montaudon, MD; Jacques Bonnet, MD; François Laurent, MD
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*From the Service de Cardiologie (Drs. Bourriot, Couffinhal, Bernard, and Bonnet), Hôpital Cardiologique du Haut-Lévêque, Pessac; and Service de Radiologie (Drs. Montaudon and Laurent), Unité d’imagerie thoracique et cardio-vasculaire, Hôpital du Haut-Levêque, Pessac, France.

Correspondence to: Thierry Couffinhal, MD, PhD, Service des Maladies Cardiovasculaires, Hôpital Cardiologique du Haut-Lévêque, Avenue de Magellan, 33604 Pessac Cedex, France; e-mail: thierry.couffinhal@bordeaux.inserm.fr



Chest. 2003;123(2):359-365. doi:10.1378/chest.123.2.359
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Study objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the clinical follow-up of a negative spiral CT (SCT) angiographic finding after a suspicion of acute pulmonary embolism (PE) in a population of inpatients with cardiac and/or respiratory disease. In this high-risk population, clinical findings suggestive of PE are frequently misleading.

Design: One hundred seventy-five consecutive patients hospitalized in cardiac and pneumology wards underwent SCT angiography for suspected PE over a 30-month period. Angiographic findings were positive in one third. For the 117 patients with negative SCT angiographic findings, a clinical follow-up during a minimum of 6 months was assessed, particularly in relation to recurrent thromboembolism, mortality, and cause of death.

Results: The mean ± SD follow-up was 21 ± 11.5 months, and five patients were unavailable for follow-up. Of the 117 patients with negative findings, 81 patients did not receive anticoagulant therapy and 46 patients received anticoagulation for cardiac disease or deep venous thrombosis. Twenty-two patients died during the follow-up period, 3 of them during the first 3 months following the initial event from an undetermined cause. In patients still alive, a new PE occurred in two cases. Patients with a poor cardiopulmonary reserve did not present any recurrent events. In this population, tests other than imaging (d-dimers, cardiac echocardiography, or venous ultrasound) contributed little to eliminate the diagnosis of PE.

Conclusions: Whether or not early deaths are considered or not to be related to a recurrent PE, the rate of recurrence after a negative SCT angiographic finding varied between 1.8% and 4.9%. SCT angiography can be used confidently to rule out significant PE, and may prevent further investigations and unnecessary treatment in an inpatient population with cardiac and/or respiratory diseases.


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