Pulmonary Embolism in Patients with Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

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Pulmonary Embolism in Patients with Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Chin Med J (Engl). 2018 Jul 20;131(14):1732-1737

Authors: Cao YQ, Dong LX, Cao J

Objective: In most countries, nearly 6% of the adults are suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which puts a huge economic burden on the society. Moreover, COPD has been considered as an independent risk factor for pulmonary embolism (PE). In this review, we summarized the existing evidence that demonstrates the associations between COPD exacerbation and PE from various aspects, including epidemiology, pathophysiological changes, risk factors, clinical features, management, and prognosis.
Data Sources: We searched the terms "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," "pulmonary embolism," "exacerbations," and "thromboembolic" in PubMed database and collected the results up to April 2018. The language was limited to English.
Study Selection: We thoroughly examined the titles and abstracts of all studies that met our search strategy. The data from prospective studies, meta-analyses, retrospective studies, and recent reviews were selected for preparing this review.
Results: The prevalence of PE in patients with COPD exacerbation varied a lot among different studies, mainly due to the variations in race, sample size, study design, research setting, and enrollment criteria. Overall, whites and African Americans showed significantly higher prevalence of PE than Asian people, and the hospitalized patients showed higher prevalence of PE compared to those who were evaluated in emergency department. PE is easily overlooked in patients with COPD exacerbation due to the similar clinical symptoms. However, several factors have been identified to contribute to the increased risk of PE during COPD exacerbation. Obesity and lower limb asymmetry were described as independent predictors for PE. Moreover, due to the high risk of PE, thromboprophylaxis has been used as an important treatment for hospitalized patients with COPD exacerbation.
Conclusions: According to the previous studies, COPD patients with PE experienced an increased risk of death and prolonged length of hospital stay. Therefore, the thromboembolic risk in patients with acute exacerbation of COPD, especially in the hospitalized patients, should carefully be evaluated.

PMID: 29998894 [PubMed - in process]

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