J Clin Med. 2022 Apr 30;11(9):2533. doi: 10.3390/jcm11092533.
Risk stratification is one of the cornerstones of the management of acute pulmonary embolism (PE) and determines the choice of both diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The first step is the identification of patent circulatory failure, as it is associated with a high risk of immediate mortality and requires a rapid diagnosis and prompt reperfusion. The second step is the estimation of 30-day mortality based on clinical parameters (e.g., original and simplified version of the pulmonary embolism severity index): low-risk patients without right ventricular dysfunction are safely managed with ambulatory anticoagulation. The remaining group of hemodynamically stable patients, labeled intermediate-risk PE, requires hospital admission, even if most of them will heal without complications. In recent decades, efforts have been made to identify a subgroup of patients at an increased risk of adverse outcomes (intermediate-high-risk PE), who might benefit from a more aggressive approach, including reperfusion therapies and admission to a monitored unit. The cur-rent approach, combining markers of right ventricular dysfunction and myocardial injury, has an insufficient positive predictive value to guide primary thrombolysis. Sensitive markers of circulatory failure, such as plasma lactate, have shown interesting prognostic accuracy and may play a central role in the future. Furthermore, the improved security of reduced-dose thrombolysis may enlarge the indication of this treatment to selected intermediate-high-risk PE.