Pulm Circ. 2022 Mar 8;12(1):e12036. doi: 10.1002/pul2.12036. eCollection 2022 Jan.
SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with increased risk for pulmonary embolism (PE), a fatal complication that can cause right ventricular (RV) dysfunction. Serum D-dimer levels are a sensitive test to suggest PE, however lacks specificity in COVID-19 patients. The goal of this study was to identify a model that better predicts PE diagnosis in hospitalized COVID-19 patients using clinical, laboratory, and echocardiographic imaging predictors. We performed a cross-sectional study of 302 adult patients admitted to the Johns Hopkins Hospital (March 2020-February 2021) for COVID-19 infection who underwent transthoracic echocardiography and D-dimer testing; 204 patients had CT angiography. Clinical, laboratory and imaging predictors including, but not limited to, D-dimer and RV dysfunction were used to build prediction models for PE using logistic regression. Model discrimination was assessed using area under the receiver operator curve (AUC) and calibration using Hosmer-Lemeshow χ 2 statistic. Internal validation was performed. The prevalence of PE was 7.6%. The model with positive D-dimer above 5 mg/L, RV dysfunction on echocardiography, and troponin had an AUC of 0.77, and cross-validated AUC of 0.74. D-dimer (>5 mg/L) had a positive association with PE (adj odds ratio = 4.40; 95% confidence interval: [1.80, 10.78]). We identified a model including clinical, imaging and laboratory variables that predicted PE in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Positive D-dimer >5, RV dysfunction on echocardiography, and troponin were important predictors for calculating likelihood of PE diagnosis. This approach may be useful to aid in clinical decision-making related to diagnostic imaging and treatment. Prospective studies are needed to evaluate impact on patient outcomes.