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      Syncope as a presentation of acute pulmonary embolism

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          Syncope is an atypical presentation for acute pulmonary embolism (APE). There are conflicting data concerning syncope and prognosis of APE.

          Patients and methods

          One hundred and seventy-nine consecutive patients aged 22–96 years (median, 68 years) with APE were retrospectively enrolled in the study.


          Prevalence of syncope was 13% (n=23) at the time of presentation. Compared to patients without syncope, those with syncope had a higher rate of central embolism (83% vs 43%, respectively, P=0.002), right ventricular dysfunction (91% vs 68%, P=0.021), and troponin positivity (80% vs 39%, P=0.001) but not 30-day mortality (13% vs 10%, P=0.716). Multivariate analysis showed that central localization (odds ratio: 9.08) and cardiac troponin positivity (odds ratio: 4.67) were the independent correlates of the presence of syncope in the patients with APE. Frequency of cardiopulmonary disease was lower, and duration from symptom onset to hospital admission was shorter in patients with syncope ( P=0.138 and 0.118, respectively), although not significant.


          Syncope most likely represents an intermediate condition between massive APE and hypotension. In APE patients with syncope, the prognosis seems to depend on the underlying pathology, the patient’s age, comorbidities and duration from symptom onset to hospital admission, and the use of thrombolytic therapy.

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          Most cited references 28

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          2014 ESC guidelines on the diagnosis and management of acute pulmonary embolism.

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            Acute pulmonary embolism: clinical outcomes in the International Cooperative Pulmonary Embolism Registry (ICOPER)

            Pulmonary embolism (PE) remains poorly understood. Rates of clinical outcomes such as death and recurrence vary widely among trials. We therefore established the International Cooperative Pulmonary Embolism Registry (ICOPER), with the aim of identifying factors associated with death. 2454 consecutive eligible patients with acute PE were registered from 52 hospitals in seven countries in Europe and North America. The primary outcome measure was all-cause mortality at 3 months. The prognostic effect of baseline factors on survival was assessed with multivariate analyses. 2110 (86.0%) patients had PE proven by necropsy, high-probability lung scan, pulmonary angiography, or venous ultrasonography plus high clinical suspicion; ICOPER accepted without independent review diagnoses and interpretation of imaging provided by participating centres; 3-month follow-up was completed in 98.0% of patients. The overall crude mortality rate at 3 months was 17.4% (426 of 2454 deaths, including 52 patients lost to follow-up): 179 of 397 (45.1%) deaths were ascribed to PE and 70 of 397 (17.6%) to cancer, and no information on the cause of death was available for 29 patients. After exclusion of 61 patients in whom PE was first discovered at necropsy, the mortality rate at 3 months was 15.3% (365 of 2393 deaths). On multiple-regression modelling, age over 70 years (hazard ratio 1.6 [95% CI 1.1-2.3]), cancer (2.3 [1.5-3.5]), congestive heart failure (2.4 [1.5-3.7]), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (1.8 [1.2-2.7]), systolic arterial hypotension (2.9 [1.7-5.0]), tachypnoea (2.0 [1.2-3.2]), and right-ventricular hypokinesis on echocardiography (2.0 [1.3-2.9]) were identified as significant prognostic factors. PE remains an important clinical problem with a high mortality rate. Data from ICOPER provide rates and highlight adverse prognostic categories that will help in planning of future trials of high-risk PE patients.
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              Prognostic value of troponins in acute pulmonary embolism: a meta-analysis.

              Whether elevated serum troponin levels identify patients with acute pulmonary embolism at high risk of short-term mortality or adverse outcome is undefined. We performed a meta-analysis of studies in patients with acute pulmonary embolism to assess the prognostic value of elevated troponin levels for short-term death and adverse outcome events (composite of death and any of the following: shock, need for thrombolysis, endotracheal intubation, catecholamine infusion, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or recurrent pulmonary embolism). Unrestricted searches of MEDLINE and EMBASE bibliographic databases from January 1998 to November 2006 were performed using the terms "troponin" and "pulmonary embolism." Additionally, review articles and bibliographies were manually searched. Cohort studies were included if they had used cardiac-specific troponin assays and had reported on short-term death or adverse outcome events. A random-effects model was used to pool study results; funnel-plot inspection was done to evaluate publication bias; and I2 testing was used to test for heterogeneity. Data from 20 studies (1985 patients) were included in the analysis. Overall, 122 of 618 patients with elevated troponin levels died (19.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 16.6 to 22.8) compared with 51 of 1367 with normal troponin levels (3.7%; 95% CI, 2.7 to 4.7). Elevated troponin levels were significantly associated with short-term mortality (odds ratio [OR], 5.24; 95% CI, 3.28 to 8.38), with death resulting from pulmonary embolism (OR, 9.44; 95% CI, 4.14 to 21.49), and with adverse outcome events (OR, 7.03; 95% CI, 2.42 to 20.43). Elevated troponin levels were associated with a high mortality in the subgroup of hemodynamically stable patients (OR, 5.90; 95% CI, 2.68 to 12.95). Results were consistent for troponin I or T and prospective or retrospective studies. Elevated troponin levels identify patients with acute pulmonary embolism at high risk of short-term death and adverse outcome events.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                27 June 2016
                : 12
                : 1023-1028
                Department of Pulmonary Medicine, School of Medicine, Bulent Ecevit University, Kozlu, Zonguldak, Turkey
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Bülent Altınsoy, Bülent Ecevit Universitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Göğüs Hastalıkları AD Esenköy, Kozlu, Zonguldak 67600, Turkey, Tel +90 505 268 1060, Fax +90 372 261 0155, Email altinsoyb@ 123456ymail.com
                © 2016 Altınsoy et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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