Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a frequent complication in cancer and is one of the leading causes of death. VTE recurs three-fold more frequently in cancer patients than in patients who do not have cancer.We studied the characteristics of pulmonary embolism in cancer patients and non-cancer patients.
This retrospective cohort of subjects with pulmonary embolism (PE) was developed using data beginning in January 2003 to December 2007 at a 680 bed, urban teaching hospital . The cohort of 118 patients with PE diagnosed with CT angiogram yielded 41 patients in cancer group (20 males and 21 females) and 47 (23 males and 24 females) patients in non cancer group. Other baseline characteristics gathered for the two groups included age, gender, race, risk factors and therapeutic interventions. Criteria for being assigned to the “central PE” were a filling defect in the pulmonary arteries or the main stem. Patients who showed filling defects in central and peripheral vessels were also assigned to the “central PE”. All other patients with filling defects in one or more peripheral vessels were assigned to “peripheral”.
The baseline characteristics did not show significant difference. Study shows that central PE was strongly associated with the cancer group (26/41; 63.4%) compared with 15 of 47 (31.9%) in the non-cancer group (OR = 3.70; 95% CI: 1.53 to 8.95; p = 0.0051). The common cancers associated with VTE were genito–urinary (13) followed by gastro-intestinal (10), then lung and breast (6 in each group). Lengths of stay significantly greater in the cancer group (median: 9d; IQR: 7–19d) compared to non-cancer group (median: 7d; IQR: 5–11d; p = 0.032. We detected no significant difference in hemodynamic instability (p = 0.30)and mortality(p = 0.29) between the two groups.
Cancer patients appear to be at a higher risk for central PE and have increased length of stay in the hospital than patients without cancer.
Significant VTE is a frequent complication in cancer and increases health care costs.
Asha Karippot, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information