Objective: To identify potential prognostic factors for pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE), establishing a mathematical model to predict the risk for fatal PTE and nonfatal PTE.
Method: The reports on 4,813 consecutive autopsies performed from 1979 to 1998 in a Brazilian tertiary referral medical school were reviewed for a retrospective study. From the medical records and autopsy reports of the 512 patients found with macroscopically and/or microscopically documented PTE, data on demographics, underlying diseases, and probable PTE site of origin were gathered and studied by multiple logistic regression. Thereafter, the “jackknife” method, a statistical cross-validation technique that uses the original study patients to validate a clinical prediction rule, was performed.
Results: The autopsy rate was 50.2%, and PTE prevalence was 10.6%. In 212 cases, PTE was the main cause of death (fatal PTE). The independent variables selected by the regression significance criteria that were more likely to be associated with fatal PTE were age (odds ratio [OR], 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00 to 1.03), trauma (OR, 8.5; 95% CI, 2.20 to 32.81), right-sided cardiac thrombi (OR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.02 to 3.77), pelvic vein thrombi (OR, 3.46; 95% CI, 1.19 to 10.05); those most likely to be associated with nonfatal PTE were systemic arterial hypertension (OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.80), pneumonia (OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.71), and sepsis (OR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.06 to 0.40). The results obtained from the application of the equation in the 512 cases studied using logistic regression analysis suggest the range in which logit p > 0.336 favors the occurrence of fatal PTE, logit p < − 1.142 favors nonfatal PTE, and logit P with intermediate values is not conclusive. The cross-validation prediction misclassification rate was 25.6%, meaning that the prediction equation correctly classified the majority of the cases (74.4%).
Conclusions: Although the usefulness of this method in everyday medical practice needs to be confirmed by a prospective study, for the time being our results suggest that concerning prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of PTE, strict attention should be given to those patients presenting the variables that are significant in the logistic regression model.