Scientific article
Open access

Outpatient treatment of pulmonary embolism

Published inSchweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, vol. 139, no. 47-48, p. 685-690
Publication date2009

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is traditionally treated in hospital. Growing evidence from non randomized prospective studies suggests that a substantial proportion of patients with non-massive PE might be safely treated in the outpatient setting using low molecular weight heparins. Based on this evidence, professional societies started to recommend outpatient care for selected patients with non-massive PE. Despite these recommendations, outpatient treatment of non-massive PE appears to be uncommon in clinical practice. The major barriers to PE outpatient care are, firstly, the uncertainty as how to identify low risk patients with PE who are candidates for outpatient care and secondly the lack of high quality evidence from randomized trials demonstrating the safety of PE outpatient care compared to traditional inpatient management. Also, although clinical prognostic models, echocardiography and cardiac biomarkers accurately identify low risk patients with PE in prospective studies, the benefit of risk stratification strategies based on these instruments should be demonstrated in prospective management studies and clinical trials before they can be implemented as decision aids to guide PE outpatient treatment. Before high quality evidence documenting the safety of an outpatient treatment approach is published, outpatient management of non-massive PE cannot be generally recommended.

  • *Ambulatory Care
  • Anticoagulants/*therapeutic use
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight/*therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Outpatients
  • Patient Selection
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pulmonary Embolism/diagnosis/*drug therapy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome
Citation (ISO format)
AUJESKY, Drahomir et al. Outpatient treatment of pulmonary embolism. In: Schweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, 2009, vol. 139, n° 47-48, p. 685–690. doi: 10.4414/smw.2009.12661
Main files (1)
ISSN of the journal0036-7672

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