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Factors Associated with Pulmonary Embolism Recurrence and the Benefits of Long-term Anticoagulant Therapy

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 3 ]

Author(s):

Francisco J.A. Sanchez*, Jose L.A. Martínez, Mirem A.U. Echezarreta, Ione V. Garcia and Jorge R. Alvaro   Pages 205 - 211 ( 7 )

Abstract:


Background: Venous thromboemboli tend to recur. However, the causative factors underlying pulmonary embolism recurrence are not well defined.

Aims: To explore the factors associated with pulmonary embolism recurrence.

Patients and Methods: Patients diagnosed with pulmonary emboli between 2004 and 2013 at our institution were enrolled. Duration of anticoagulant therapy, new episodes of venous thromboembolism, and deaths were recorded.

Results: Pulmonary embolism was diagnosed in 528 patients (median age: 76 years, interquartile range [IQR]: 16; male: 45%). The median follow-up time was 34 months (IQR: 52). In total, 477 patients completed ≥3 months of anticoagulation therapy. Permanent anticoagulation was indicated in 217 (45%) patients, and therapy was discontinued in 260 (55%) patients. Overall, 79 patients experienced a recurrence (5.6 per patient-year). Recurrence was significantly associated with anticoagulation discontinuation (4% vs. 27% of patients who maintained or discontinued therapy, respectively; P<0.001; 95% confidence interval -0.95, -0.86). The median duration between anticoagulation withdrawal and recurrence was 6.5 months (IQR: 23.25). Factors associated with recurrence were unprovoked pulmonary embolism (odds ratio [OR]: 0.45), a greater degree of pulmonary arterial obstruction (OR: 2.5), a delay in initiation of anticoagulation (OR: 3), and higher plasma D-dimer levels during treatment (OR: 2.3). Survival rates were improved for patients who maintained anticoagulation therapy relative to those who discontinued.

Conclusion: Pulmonary embolism has a high recurrence rate. Permanent anticoagulant therapy should be considered for patients with idiopathic pulmonary embolism, a high thrombotic burden, and persistently elevated D-dimer levels during treatment, and for patients where therapy was initially delayed.

Keywords:

Anticoagulantsnts, D-dimer, pulmonary embolism, recurrence, venous thromboses, pulmonary arterial obstruction.

Affiliation:

Department of Internal Medicine A, Hospital Complex of Navarra, Pamplona, Department of Internal Medicine A, Hospital Complex of Navarra, Pamplona, Department of Internal Medicine A, Hospital Complex of Navarra, Pamplona, Department of Internal Medicine A, Hospital Complex of Navarra, Pamplona, Department of Internal Medicine A, Hospital Complex of Navarra, Pamplona

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