Sex differences in the characteristics and short-term prognosis of patients presenting with acute symptomatic pulmonary embolism

Deisy Barrios, Raquel Morillo, Ina Guerassimova, Esther Barbero, Héctor Escobar-Morreale, Alexander T. Cohen, Cecilia Becattini, Victor Tapson, Roger Yusen, David Jimenez

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29 Scopus citations


Background: We sought to examine sex-related differences in the characteristics and outcome in patients presenting with acute symptomatic pulmonary embolism (PE). Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 2,096 patients diagnosed with acute PE. The characteristics were recorded at presentation. Treatment was at the discretion of patients’ physicians. The primary study outcome, all-cause mortality, and the secondary outcomes of PE-specific mortality, recurrent venous thromboembolism, and major bleeding were assessed during the first month of follow-up after PE diagnosis. Results: Overall, the women were older than the men and had significantly higher rates of immobilization. They had significantly lower rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer. Women had a higher prevalence of syncope and elevated brain natriuretic peptide levels. Thirty-day all-cause mortality was similar between women and men (7.1% versus 6.2%; P = 0.38). Male gender was not independently significantly associated with PE-related death (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.02; 95% CI, 0.50 to 2.07; P = 0.96). Restricting the analyses to haemodynamically stable patients (n = 2,021), female gender was an independent predictor of all-cause (adjusted OR 1.56; 95% CI, 1.07 to 2.28; P = 0.02) and PE-specific mortality (adjusted OR 1.85; 95% CI, 1.02 to 3.33; P = 0.04). Compared with men, women were 2.05 times more likely to experience a major bleed. Conclusions: Women and men with PE had different clinical characteristics, presentation, and outcomes. Women receiving anticoagulation have a significantly higher risk of major bleeding, suggesting the need for careful monitoring of anticoagulant intensity in women.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0187648
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


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