Home treatment of PE remains rare


Clinical question: What is the prevalence of outpatient treatment of acute pulmonary embolism (PE)?

Background: PE traditionally is perceived as a serious condition requiring hospitalization. Many studies, however, have shown that outpatient treatment of PE in low-risk, compliant patients is safe. Several scoring systems have been derived to identify patients with PE who are at low risk of adverse events and may be candidates for home treatment.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Five U.S. EDs.

Synopsis: Among 983 patients diagnosed with acute PE, 237 (24.1%) were unstable and hypoxic. Only a small proportion of patients (1.7%) were eligible for outpatient therapy, and an additional 16.2% of hospitalized patients were discharged early (2 days or less). Novel oral anticoagulants were administered to fewer than one-third of patients.

Bottom line: In the era of novel anticoagulants, the majority of patients with acute PE were hospitalized, and home treatment was infrequently selected for stable low-risk patients.

Citation: Stein PD, Matta F, Hughes PG, et al. Home treatment of pulmonary embolism in the era of novel oral anticoagulants. Am J Med. 2016;129(9):974-977.

Dr. Gummalla is an assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and a hospitalist at University of Miami Hospital and Jackson Memorial Hospital.