The pragmatic Hestia criteria proved as safe as the more structured, points-based simplified Pulmonary Embolism Severity Index (sPESI) score for selection of patients with acute pulmonary embolism for outpatient care in the large, randomized HOME-PE trial presented at the virtual annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology.
“These results support outpatient management of acute pulmonary embolism patients using either the Hestia method or the sPESI score with the option for the physician-in-charge to override the decision. In hospitals organized for outpatient management, both triaging strategies enable more than a third of pulmonary embolism patients to be managed at home with a low rate of complications,” Pierre-Marie Roy, MD, said in presenting the HOME-PE findings.
The study clarifies a transatlantic controversy regarding how best to triage patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE) for outpatient care. The answer? It’s basically a tie between the points-based sPESI score recommended in the current ESC guidelines (Eur Respir J. 2019 Oct 9;54:1901647) and the Hestia method endorsed in the American College of Chest Physician guidelines (Chest. 2016 Feb;149:315-52).
The sPESI is a validated tool that grants 1 point each for age over 80 years, background cardiopulmonary disease, a systolic blood pressure below 100 mm Hg, cancer, a heart rate of 110 bpm or more, and an oxygen saturation level below 90%. A patient needs a score of zero to be eligible for outpatient management. In contrast, the Hestia method relies upon 11 simple bedside criteria rather than a points system, explained Dr. Roy of University Hospital of Angers, France (J Thromb Haemost. 2011 Aug;9:1500-7).
HOME-PE was a randomized, open-label, noninferiority trial conducted at 26 hospitals in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The study included 1,974 patients presenting to the emergency department with non–high-risk acute PE as defined by hemodynamic stability. About 39% of patients in the Hestia group were eligible for outpatient care on the basis of ‘no’ answers regarding all 11 criteria, while 48% of patients had an sPESI score of 0 and were thus initially considered appropriate for outpatient management.
However, the investigators recognized that no scoring system for acute PE is perfect, and that the judgment of a physician with extensive experience in managing this life-threatening condition counts for a lot. So they stipulated that a patient’s physician-in-charge could overrule a decision for early discharge. This happened 29% of the time in patients with a sPESI score of 0, as compared with a 3% overrule rate with the Hestia rule. The physician-in-charge also moved small numbers of patients who were Hestia or sPESI positive into the outpatient care group. As a result, a similar proportion of patients in both groups were discharged home within 24 hours for outpatient treatment: 38% of the total Hestia group and 37% in the sPESI arm.
Major adverse event rates were reassuringly low in both groups managed on an outpatient basis. The composite of recurrent venous thromboembolism, bleeding, or death within 30 days occurred in 1.3% of Hestia outpatients and 1.1% of sPESI outpatients. Among patients managed in the hospital, these rates were 5.6% in the Hestia group and 4.7% in the sPESI group.
Discussant Stavros V. Konstantinides, MD, who chaired the ESC guideline committee, asked rhetorically, “who’s happy with the HOME-PE trial? I think everybody.”
“The Hestia criteria integrate the feasibility of family support of the individual patient. This is a good thing. And eligibility based on the Hestia criteria, unlike sPESI, does not require age younger than 80 years or no cancer, and it appears from the HOME-PE study that this is okay,” observed Dr. Konstantinides of the Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis at the University of Mainz (Germany).
In an interview, Hadley Wilson, MD, called the HOME-PE trial “transformative” and predicted it will change clinical practice. He was particularly impressed with the high quality of the trial, noting that 87% of participants managed as outpatients received a direct oral anticoagulant.
The Hestia rule is simpler and more user-friendly. And greater use of this triaging strategy might have advantages in terms of economics and health care utilization by potentially encouraging movement of decision-making regarding outpatient management of acute PE out of the hospital wards and into emergency departments, said Dr. Wilson, executive vice chair of the Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute and a cardiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Roy reported receiving research grants to conduct HOME-PE from the French Ministry of Health, the study sponsor. In addition, he is on scientific advisory boards and/or speakers’ panels for Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Aspen, Daiichi Sankyo, and Sanofi Aventis.