[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experienced clinicians' gestalt is useful in estimating the pretest probability for pulmonary embolism and is complementary to diagnostic testing, such as lung scanning. However, it is unclear whether recently developed clinical prediction rules, using explicit features of clinical examination, are comparable with clinicians' gestalt. If so, clinical prediction rules would be powerful tools because they could be used by less-experienced health care professionals to simplify the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism. Recent studies have shown that the combination of a low pretest probability (using a clinical prediction rule) and a normal result of a D-dimer test reliably excludes pulmonary embolism without the need for further testing.
To evaluate and demonstrate the accuracy of pretest probability assessment for pulmonary embolism using clinical gestalt vs clinical prediction rules.
The MEDLINE database was searched for relevant articles published between 1966 and March 2003. Bibliographies of pertinent articles also were scanned for suitable articles.
To be included in the analysis, studies were required to have consecutive, unselected patients enrolled; participating physicians in the studies, blinded to the results of diagnostic testing, had to estimate pretest probability of pulmonary embolism; and validated diagnostic methods had to be used to confirm or exclude pulmonary embolism.
Three reviewers independently scanned titles and abstracts for inclusion of studies. An initial MEDLINE search identified 1709 studies, of which 16 involving 8306 patients were included in the final analysis.
A clinical gestalt strategy was used in 7 studies, and in the low, moderate, and high pretest categories, the rates of pulmonary embolism ranged from 8% to 19%, 26% to 47%, and 46% to 91%, respectively. Clinical prediction rules were used in 10 studies, and 3% to 28%, 16% to 46%, and 38% to 98% in the low, moderate, and high pretest probability groups, respectively, had pulmonary embolism.
The clinical gestalt of experienced clinicians and the clinical prediction rules used by physicians of varying experience have shown similar accuracy in discriminating among patients who have a low, moderate, or high pretest probability of pulmonary embolism. We advocate the use of a clinical prediction rule because it has shown to be accurate and can be used by less-experienced clinicians.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 01/2004; 290(21):2849-58. · 29.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pregnancy is associated with a physiological increase in coagulation factors and heparin binding proteins; both can affect the activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) in response to unfractionated heparin (UFH) invalidating the use of a non-pregnant APTT therapeutic range. We compared the anticoagulant response of UFH added in vitro to the plasma of 13 pregnant (third trimester) and 15 nonpregnant women to determine whether the measured APTT and antifactor Xa activities are lower in pregnancy. Increasing concentrations of UFH were added to platelet-poor plasma from each subject and the APTT and anti-factor Xa activity were measured. The amount of UFH which was reversibly bound and neutralised by plasma heparin binding proteins was assessed by comparing the anti-factor Xa activity before and after addition of low affinity heparin (LAH). Fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor antigen (vWF Ag) and factor VIII levels, were also measured. The APTT response, assessed by the slope of the regression line of log APTT versus added heparin concentration, was attenuated in pregnant plasma (0.76 s/U/mL versus 1.2 s/U/mL, p = 0.005) and was highly correlated to increased non-specific plasma protein binding (47% versus 35% p <0.01) and increased fibrinogen (5.1 g/L versus 2.8 g/L, p < 0.01) and factor VIII activity (2.7 U/mL versus 1.2 U/mL, p <0.01). Thus, to achieve the same heparin level, pregnant women require higher daily doses of UFH than non-pregnant women. However, if UFH dose adjustments during the third trimester are based upon a non-pregnant APTT therapeutic range, systematic overdosing of pregnant women will result, possibly increasing the risk of bleeding and osteoporosis.
Thrombosis and Haemostasis 02/2002; 87(1):92-7. · 6.09 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies evaluating the accuracy of the SimpliRED D-dimer assay for venous thromboembolism (VTE) have used a capillary fingerstick blood sample, which requires the test to be performed immediately at the bedside. Initial studies showed a sensitivity for VTE of 90% to 95% when the assay was performed by a finite number of experienced health care workers. However, because of the test's subjectivity, misinterpretation of the result is possible when performed by inexperienced staff. Recent reports by other investigators indicated a low sensitivity of this assay for VTE and noted a reduction in sensitivity (84%) for pulmonary embolism.
To determine the sensitivity and specificity of the D-dimer test performed in the laboratory by experienced technologists on venous whole-blood samples in routine collection tubes. If D-dimer testing results accurately detect VTE when performed in this manner, concerns about the sensitivity of this assay would be solved.
One hundred forty-eight consecutive patients with suspected VTE underwent D-dimer testing at the bedside using a fingerstick sample and venous blood collected into a plain tube. Venous blood was also collected into tubes containing tri-potassium EDTA, sodium citrate, or a combination of lithium and heparin for D-dimer testing in the laboratory. In addition, the EDTA tube was refrigerated overnight at 4 degrees C for retesting at approximately 24 hours. The presence or absence of VTE was determined by means of objective results of testing and a 3-month follow-up.
Thirty-four subjects (23%) had confirmed VTE (25 with deep vein thrombosis; 9 with pulmonary embolism). All laboratory venous blood D-dimer results showed sensitivities of 97%, specificities of 61% to 64%, and negative predictive values of 99%, compared with 88%, 71%, and 95%, respectively, when the results were obtained by means of fingerstick at the bedside.
The SimpliRED D-dimer assay performed in the laboratory on venous blood, collected into any of 3 routine laboratory tubes, is sensitive and moderately specific for VTE. Based on this study, immediate bedside testing (particularly by inexperienced personnel) under suboptimal conditions is unnecessary. Furthermore, the high sensitivity of refrigerated EDTA samples allows specimens to be stored or transported (on ice at 4 degrees C) for testing for 24 hours after collection.
Archives of Internal Medicine 02/2002; 162(2):217-20. · 11.46 Impact Factor