Should all Syncope Patients Undergo Evaluation for Pulmonary Embolism?

Prevalence varied from 0.06 to 0.55% for all patients, 0.15 to 2.1% for hospitalized patients
Prevalence varied from 0.06 to 0.55% for all patients, 0.15 to 2.1% for hospitalized patients

HealthDay News — For patients presenting to the emergency department with syncope, the prevalence of pulmonary embolism (PE) is low, according to a study published online January 29 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Giorgio Costantino, MD, from the Università degli Studi di Milano in Italy, and colleagues conducted a retrospective observational study and examined longitudinal administrative data from five databases in four different countries. The authors examined the prevalence of PE among 1,671,944 unselected adults who presented to the emergency department with syncope. 

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Based on administrative data, the researchers found that the prevalence of PE varied from 0.06 to 0.55% for all patients and from 0.15 to 2.1% for hospitalized patients. At 90 days of follow-up, PE prevalence varied from 0.14 to 0.83% for all patients and from 0.35 to 2.63% for hospitalized patients. At 90 days, the prevalence of venous thromboembolism varied from 0.3 to 1.37% for all patients and from 0.75 to 3.86% for hospitalized patients.

"Pulmonary embolism was rarely identified in patients with syncope," the authors write. "Although PE should be considered in every patient, not all patients should undergo evaluation for PE."

One author disclosed financial ties to Medtronic.

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