This study aimed to determine the failure rate of a combination of the PERC and the YEARS rules for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE) in the emergency department (ED).Methods
We performed a retrospective analysis of two European cohorts of emergency patients with low gestalt clinical probability of PE (PROPER and PERCEPIC). All patients we included were managed using a conventional strategy (D-dimer test, followed, if positive, by computed tomographic pulmonary angiogram (CTPA). We tested a diagnostic strategy that combined PERC and YEARS to rule out PE. The primary endpoint was a thromboembolic event diagnosed in the ED or at 3-months follow-up. Secondary endpoints included a thromboembolic event at baseline in the ED and a CTPA in the ED. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals (CIs) of proportions were calculated with the use of Wilson's continuity correction.Results
We analyzed 1,951 patients (mean ± SD age = 47 ± 18 years, 56% women) with an overall proportion of patients with PE of 3.5%. Both PERC and YEARS strategies were associated with 11 missed PE in the ED: failure rate 0.57 (95% CI = 0.32–1.02). At 3-month follow-up, the overall failure rate was 0.83% (95% CI = 0.51–1.35). Among the 503 patients who underwent a CTPA (26%), the use of the PERC–YEARS combination would have ruled out PE without CTPA in 249 patients (50% [95%CI = 45%–54%], absolute reduction 13% (95% CI = 11%–14%]).Conclusion
The combination of PERC then YEARS was associated with a low risk of PE diagnostic failure and would have resulted in a relative reduction of almost half of CTPA.