NEW YORK – August 13, 2019 - A research letter was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examining hospitalization, readmission, and mortality rates following pulmonary embolism (PE) in older US adults from 1999 through 2015. Researchers found that hospitalization rates for PE increased while length of stay, readmission rates, and short-term and one-year mortality rates declined. Investigators believe that these trends may be explained by advances in the diagnosis and management of PE, such as computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA), which is now the standard diagnostic test. Frequent use of CTPA may have contributed to identifying less severe PEs, hence the reduced mortality rates.

“These trends may also reflect improvements in timeliness of diagnosis and therapeutics and in the process of care for older adults with PE,” said Behnood Bikdeli, MD, MS, the primary author of the study. “The mortality rates in the final years, when CTPA was routine, remained relatively stable but length of stay and 30-day readmission rates continued to decline. More studies are needed to determine the reasons behind these observed trends and strategies that may alleviate the residual risk of death or recurrence in older adults.” Dr. Bikdeli is a research fellow from the Cardiovascular Research Foundation and a cardiovascular medicine fellow at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Bikdeli reports that he was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, through grant number T32 HL007854, and that he is a consulting expert, on behalf of the plaintiff, for litigation related to a specific type of IVC filters. The current study is the idea of the investigators and not performed at the request of a third party.