Clinical presentation and in-hospital death in acute pulmonary embolism: does cancer matter?

Franco Casazza, Cecilia Becattini, Eliana Rulli, Ilaria Pacchetti, Irene Floriani, Marco Biancardi, Angela Beatrice Scardovi, Iolanda Enea, Amedeo Bongarzoni, Luigi Pignataro, Giancarlo Agnelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer is one of the most common risk factors for acute pulmonary embolism (PE), but only few studies report on the short-term outcome of patients with PE and a history of cancer. The aim of the study was to assess whether a cancer diagnosis affects the clinical presentation and short-term outcome in patients hospitalized for PE who were included in the Italian Pulmonary Embolism Registry. All-cause and PE-related in-hospital deaths were also analyzed. Out of 1702 patients, 451 (26.5 %) of patients had a diagnosis of cancer: cancer was known at presentation in 365, or diagnosed during the hospital stay for PE in 86 (19 % of cancer patients). Patients with and without cancer were similar concerning clinical status at presentation. Patients with cancer less commonly received thrombolytic therapy, and more often had an inferior vena cava filter inserted. Major or intracranial bleeding was not different between groups. In-hospital all-cause death occurred in 8.4 and 5.9 % of patients with and without cancer, respectively. At multivariate analysis, cancer (OR 2.24, 95 % CI 1.27–3.98; P = 0.006) was an independent predictor of in-hospital death. Clinical instability, PE recurrence, age ≥75 years, recent bed rest ≥3 days, but not cancer, were independent predictors of in-hospital death due to PE. Cancer seems a weaker predictor of all-cause in-hospital death compared to other factors; the mere presence of cancer, without other risk factors, leads to a probability of early death of 2 %. In patients with acute PE, cancer increases the probability of in-hospital all-cause death, but does not seem to affect the clinical presentation or the risk of in-hospital PE-related death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalInternal and Emergency Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 29 2016


  • Cancer
  • In-hospital death
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Risk factors
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Internal Medicine


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