The differential diagnosis of acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) with acute pulmonary embolism (APE) complications are difficult because of the variability of clinical presentations and the shortage of an unfailing screening biomarkers or instruments.
Aimed to detect and compare the expression of serum microRNAs (miR-1233, miR-134) in AECOPD patients complicated with APE.
Blood samples were collected from 52 AECOPD patients (13 patients with APE complications, 39 patients without APE) and 10 patients with stable COPD. Serum miRNAs expression was detected with real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The levels of plasma D-dimers were determined by detection with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) curve was used for evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of the studied miRNAs.
According to the Wells score, 42 of the 52 AECOPD patients were unlikely to have APE (≤4 points), whereas the remaining 10 (>4 points) were likely to have APE. There were 4 cases (4/13 30.8%) in the AECOPD combined with APE group with a Wells score of >4 points. The expression levels of miR-1233 and miR-134 in the serum were considerably upregulated in the AECOPD+APE group compared with the AECOPD group and the stable COPD group (P<0.05). The areas under the curve (AUCs) for miR-134 and miR-1233 were, respectively, 0.931 (95% CI 0.863–0.999) (P<0.05) and 0.884 (95% CI 0.79–0.978) (P<0.05) and were higher compared with the AUC for D-dimer of 0.628 (95% CI 0.447–0.809), the AUC for age-adjusted D-dimer of 0.705 (95% CI 0.525–0.885) and the AUC for Wells score of 0.577 (95% CI 0.389–0.765).