Cureus. 2022 Jul 20;14(7):e27087. doi: 10.7759/cureus.27087. eCollection 2022 Jul.
BACKGROUND: Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a common acute life-threatening cardiovascular disorder. It is the third most common cause of hospital-related death and early detection and management of PE are crucial. The study aimed to evaluate the association between vital signs and laboratory investigations with PE.
METHODS: This is a retrospective, hospital records-based, observational study, conducted among patients who were admitted to the emergency department of King Saud Medical City in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with a suspected diagnosis of PE during the period of March 2021 to March 2022. Data were collected by searching patients’ files and recording demographic data, and information about the clinical presentation, workup, and outcome. Data were entered and analyzed using SPSS version 26 (IBM, Armonk, NY), utilizing Chi-square statistics to test differences between groups, and logistic regression analyses to identify predictors of PE.
RESULTS: The study included 92 patients, with a preponderance of females (70.7%), and those aged 40-60 years (51.1%). Diabetes mellitus (44.6%), and hypertension (30.4%) were the most common comorbidities among others, while shortness of breath (SOB) (83.7%), and chest pain (44.6%) were among the most commonly reported symptoms. A majority of patients had tachycardia (64.1%), while about half had low oxygen saturation (51.5%), and nearly one-third had tachypnea (29.3%), which was more predominant among those not diagnosed with PE. Logistic regression analysis revealed that SOB, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation were the only significant predictors of PE.
CONCLUSION: Although being an integral part of the initial assessment in the hospital, measuring the vital signs is not always reflective of the likelihood of PE, and they should not be the only metric relied upon to make decisions about treatment approaches in patients with PE. Physicians should ensure the employment of evidence-based clinical prediction rules and guidelines when diagnosing and managing PE.