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Sex Differences in Management and Outcomes Among Patients With High-Risk Pulmonary Embolism

A Nationwide Analysis



      To examine the sex differences in management and outcomes among patients with high-risk acute pulmonary embolism (PE).

      Patients and Methods

      The Nationwide Readmissions Database was used to identify hospitalizations with high-risk PE from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2018. Differences in use of advanced therapies, in-hospital mortality, and bleeding events were compared between men and women.


      A total of 125,901 weighted hospitalizations with high-risk PE were identified during the study period; 46.3% were women (n=58,253). Women were older and had a higher prevalence of several comorbidities and risk factors of PE such as morbid obesity, diabetes mellitus, chronic pulmonary disease, heart failure, and metastatic cancer. Systemic thrombolysis and catheter-directed interventions were more commonly used among women; however, mechanical circulatory support was less frequently used. In-hospital mortality was higher among women in the unadjusted analysis (30.7% vs 27.8%, P<.001) and after propensity score matching (odds ratio [OR], 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08 to 1.25; P<.001), whereas the rates of intracranial hemorrhage and non–intracranial hemorrhage were not different. On multivariate regression analysis, female sex (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.15 to 1.21; P<.001) was independently associated with increased odds of in-hospital mortality.


      In this contemporary observational cohort of patients admitted with high-risk PE, women had higher rates of in-hospital mortality despite receiving advanced therapies more frequently, whereas the rate of major bleeding events was not different from men. Efforts are needed to minimize the excess mortality observed among women.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      CDE (catheter-directed embolectomy), CDI (catheter-directed intervention), CDT (catheter-directed thrombolysis), ICH (intracranial hemorrhage), MCS (mechanical circulatory support), NRD (Nationwide Readmissions Database), OR (odds ratio), PE (pulmonary embolism), US-CDT (ultrasound-facilitated catheter-directed thrombolysis)
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