A retrospective study suggests that there is insufficient follow-up in pulmonary embolism patients who have a high risk of developing chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.
In the INFORM study, researchers investigated the prevalence of PH following pulmonary embolism, and the disease monitoring patterns in 7,068 pulmonary embolism patients. The data referred to cases from July 1, 2010, to Sept 30, 2011, and the information was collected one year before and two years after the pulmonary embolism event.
The results indicated that, among the analyzed patients, 87% reported a PH-related symptom, and 7.6% had a diagnosis of PH during follow-up. Among the patients diagnosed with PH, about half of them were also diagnosed with left heart disease, suggesting that the incidence of CTEPH could be 3.8%. Only 55% of all the patients with pulmonary embolism had diagnostic exams after the event.
“These results demonstrate that if respiratory symptoms are nonspecific and persistent in a patient with a history of pulmonary embolism, you have to have a high index of suspicion for pulmonary hypertension,” said David Platt, MD, the study’s co-author, director of US medical affairs at Bayer, in a press release. “The implications are particularly important for the subset of pulmonary embolism patients who go on to develop CTEPH. Increased awareness and use of recommended diagnostic methods, such as V/Q scans, could dramatically improve prognosis, given the availability of potentially curative surgery.”