Clinical Edge

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PEs Nearly Doubled During 2004-2015

Key clinical point: The U.S. incidence of pulmonary embolism among hospitalized patients recently rose sharply.

Major finding: The incidence of a pulmonary embolism diagnosis increased from 5.4/1,000 patients in 2004 to 9.7/1,000 patients in 2015.

Study details: Review of data collected in the U.S. National Inpatient Sample during 2004-2015.

Disclosures: The study received no commercial funding. Dr. Goldberg had no disclosures.


Haider A et al. J Amer Coll Cardiol. 2019 March;73:9[suppl 1]: doi: 10.1016/S0735-1097(19)32507-0


At my center, Allegheny General Hospital, we often rely on catheter-directed therapy to treat major pulmonary embolism. We now perform more catheter-directed interventions than surgical embolectomies. Generally, when treating patients with major pulmonary embolism it comes down to a choice between those two options. We rarely use systemic thrombolysis for major pulmonary embolism any more.

Hospital staffs now do a lot of screening for pulmonary embolism, so I’m surprised to see these data showing that the in-hospital diagnosis has been increasing. If the data are representative, it suggests that the staffs must do a better job preventing pulmonary embolism by using appropriate prophylaxis for deep vein thrombosis.

Raymond L. Benza, MD , is professor of medicine at Temple University College of Medicine and program director for advanced heart failure at the Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh. He has been a consultant to Actelion, Gilead, and United Therapeutics, and he has received research funding from Bayer. He made these comments in an interview.