Deep venous thrombosis and the risk of pulmonary embolism; A systematic study

M. Monreal, J. Ruiz, A. Olazabal, A. Arias, J. Roca

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110 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of several diseases and clinical conditions on the presence of pulmonary embolism (PE) in a large series of patients with deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in the lower extremities was analyzed prospectively. Lung scan findings from a series of 434 consecutive patients with DVT (with and without symptoms of PE) were studied and then correlated to five clinical variables: age, sex, elapsed time since clinical symptoms had appeared in the leg to diagnosis, degree of proximity of venous thrombus, and the presence or not of several risk factors that could have predisposed to thrombus development. According to scintigraphic findings, 164 patients were considered to have PE (asymptomatic in 76 of them), while 200 patients were classified as having only DVT. Lung scan was considered to be indeterminate for PE in 70 patients, and they were not included in the study. No differences were found in terms of age, sex, interval of time elapsed since onset of symptoms to diagnosis, or in the degree of proximity of the thrombus. However, several differences between groups were found when comparing the presence or absence of several predisposing factors for thrombosis: DVT developing in immobilized patients was associated with a significantly lower incidence of PE as compared with nonimmobilized patients (p = 0.005). Conversely, patients with a history of venous thromboembolism (VTE) had a significantly higher rate of embolism (31/51 vs 133/313; p = 0.01). On logistic regression analysis, a history of VTE showed a statistically significant association with more than a twofold higher risk of having PE for patients with such an antecedent. Our findings suggest that different pathophysiologic pathways could perhaps explain differences in embolic potential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-681
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992


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