Estimated Incidence of Acute Pulmonary Embolism in a Community/Teaching General Hospital


      This study attempts to determine the incidence of established acute pulmonary embolism (PE) in a community/teaching general hospital.


      The reported incidence of objectively diagnosed acute PE among hospitalized adults in a large urban hospital or major university hospital ranges from 0.27 to 0.40%. Whether the incidence of PE in other categories of hospitals fits within this narrow range is unknown.


      Patients with acute PE diagnosed by ventilation/perfusion lung scan, pulmonary angiography, compression ultrasound in a patient with suspected PE, autopsy, or (by coincidence) lung biopsy were identified among patients hospitalized during a 2-year period from 1998 to 2000. The incidence of PE was also determined according to age, sex, and race.


      Among adult patients (≥ 20 years old), the incidence of established acute PE was 95 of 34,567 patients (0.27%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.22 to 0.34%). No PE was diagnosed in patients < 20 years old. The incidence of PE in men was 36 of 13,722 patients (0.26%; 95% CI, 0.18 to 0.36%); in women, it was 59 of 20,845 patients (0.2%; 95% CI, 0.22 to 0.36%; not significant [NS]). The incidence in African-Americans adults was 10 of 4,344 patients (0.23%; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.42%); in white adults, it was 84 of 28,615 patients (0.29%; 95% CI, 0.23 to 0.36%; NS).


      The incidence of PE in a community/teaching general hospital was comparable to the incidence in a large urban-care center and in a major university hospital.

      Key words


      CI (confidence interval), ICD-9 (International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision), NS (not significant), PE (pulmonary embolism), V˙/ Q˙ (ventilation/perfusion)
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