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The application of clinical variables and models to predict pulmonary embolism in cancer patients: a comprehensive single cancer center experience

Authors Mansour A, Ismael Y, Abunasser M, Hammode E, Turfa R, Abdel-Razeq H

Received 7 April 2013

Accepted for publication 15 May 2013

Published 23 October 2013 Volume 2013:7 Pages 1111—1116


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Asem Mansour,1 Yousef Ismael,2 Mahmoud Abunasser,2 Emad Hammode,2 Rim Turfa,2 Hikmat Abdel-Razeq2

1Department of Radiology, King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan; 2Department of Internal Medicine, King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan

Introduction: Prompt diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary embolism (PE) can help reduce its associated morbidity and mortality. Computed tomography chest angiography (CTA) scanning is the most widely used diagnostic modality. In noncancer patients, only 10% of such studies are positive for PE. Clinical variables, individual or in combination, that can predict test positivity are highly needed.
Materials and methods: All CTAs requested to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of PE in a single comprehensive cancer center were reviewed. In addition to the Wells score, other clinical variables known to increase the risk of PE were analyzed.
Results: A total of 778 adult cancer patients were treated at King Hussein Cancer Center (Amman, Jordan) and were included in this study; the majority of patients (64.2%) had stage 4 disease. Overall, 129 (16.6%) patients had positive scans for PE, while alternative diagnoses were made in 308 (39.6%) patients. Cancer stage and anticancer treatment had no impact on positive PE rates. However, Wells criteria classified patients into three risk groups with PE rates of 10.2%, 16.1%, and 62.5% among the patients with low, moderate, and high risk, respectively (P < 0.0001). Duration of cancer diagnosis (<12 months versus >12 months) had a significant impact on positive PE studies (22.0% versus 12.4%, respectively, P = 0.007).
Conclusion: The rate of positive PE studies in cancer patients is higher than previously reported in noncancer patients. Positivity for PE was higher during the first 12 months of cancer diagnosis and in those with high probability score according to the Wells criteria. Factors like primary tumor stage and anticancer therapy had no significant impact on PE-positive studies.

Keywords: pulmonary embolism, thromboembolism, cancer, CT angiography

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