Mortality in patients treated for pulmonary embolism

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Acute Disease; Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Heart Failure; Heart Ventricles; Humans; Hypertension, Pulmonary; Middle Aged; Prognosis; Pulmonary Embolism; Recurrence; Shock, Cardiogenic


Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms | Therapeutics


The hospital course of 144 consecutive patients with pulmonary embolism (PE) demonstrated by pulmonary angiography was reviewed to determine the mortality of patients with treated PE. Twelve patients (8%) died of PE, and eight died of causes other than PE; 124 (86%) survived. Pulmonary embolism was the primary cause of death in only four of the 12 patients who died of PE. Pulmonary embolism contributed to the death of eight other patients, each of whom had associated potentially lethal disease, particularly heart disease. The most important factor affecting mortality was shock due to acute right ventricular failure secondary to massive PE (mortality, 32%). Mortality was not related to magnitude of PE per se; the mortality of patients with massive PE without shock (6%) was the same as that for patients with submassive PE (5%. Patients with PE who survive long enough to have the diagnosis established and appropriate prophylactic therapy begun have an excellent prognosis, unless they have associated severe medical disease.

DOI of Published Version



JAMA. 1976 Sep 27;236(13):1477-80.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association

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Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID