Diagnostic yield of computed tomographic pulmonary angiography for suspected pulmonary embolism varies across settings within a community-based health system
Emerg Radiol . 2021 Apr;28(2):291-296. doi: 10.1007/s10140-020-01858-2. Epub 2020 Oct 1.
Joshua Kornblum, Reza J Daugherty, Richard Bounds, Ansar Z Vance, Assaf Graif
Purpose: The diagnostic yield of computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA) for pulmonary embolism varies in the literature, and very little data is available regarding community-based systems. This study evaluates the yield of CTPA for pulmonary embolism across a variety of patient care settings in a community-based healthcare system, providing relevant benchmarks for potential quality improvement efforts.
Methods: This retrospective study included data collected from three sites within a single community-based healthcare system, including a tertiary care level 1 trauma center, an urban community hospital, and a suburban free-standing emergency department. CTPAs were identified by Current Procedural Terminology codes, and diagnoses of pulmonary embolism were identified via International Classification of Diseases codes. A total of 7850 CTPA studies met criteria for inclusion between January 1, 2012, and October 8, 2014.
Results: Pulmonary embolism was found in 884 (11.3%) of the studies performed. Outpatients had a lower yield of pulmonary embolism (3.8%, p < 0.001) compared with inpatients (14.1%) and emergency department patients (10.7%, p < 0.001). Patients with diagnoses of deep vein thrombosis or neoplasm had increased incidence of pulmonary embolism when compared with patients without these diagnoses (p < 0.001 for both).
Conclusion: The overall yield of CTPA for pulmonary embolism in this community-based system was similar to that at academic centers. The yield was significantly lower in the outpatient setting compared with studies originating in the emergency department or inpatient setting.
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