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The prognostic value of pulmonary embolism severity index in acute pulmonary embolism: a meta-analysis

Xiao-Yu Zhou1, Su-Qin Ben1, Hong-Lin Chen2 and Song-Shi Ni1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Respiratory Diseases, the Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, Xi Si Road 20#, Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, 226001, People’s Republic of China

2 Nantong University, Qi Xiu Road 19#, Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, 226001, People’s Republic of China

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Respiratory Research 2012, 13:111  doi:10.1186/1465-9921-13-111

Published: 4 December 2012



Prognostic assessment is important for the management of patients with acute pulmonary embolism (APE). Pulmonary Embolism Severity Index (PESI) and simple PESI (sPESI) are new emerged prognostic assessment tools for APE. The aim of this meta-analysis is to assess the accuracy of the PESI and the sPESI to predict prognostic outcomes (all-cause and PE-related mortality, serious adverse events) in APE patients, and compare between these two PESIs.


MEDLINE and EMBASE database were searched up to June 2012 using the terms “Pulmonary Embolism Severity Index” and “pulmonary embolism”. Summary odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for prognostic outcomes in low risk PESI versus high risk PESI were calculated. Summary receiver operating characteristic curve (SROC) used to estimate overall predicting accuracies of prognostic outcomes.


Twenty-one studies were included in this meta-analysis. The results showed low-risk PESI was significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality (OR 0.13; 95% CI 0.12 to 0.15), PE-related mortality (OR 0.09; 95% CI 0.05 to 0.17) and serious adverse events (OR 0.34; 95% CI 0.29 to 0.41), with no homogeneity across studies. In sPESI subgroup, the OR of all-cause mortality, PE-related mortality, and serious adverse events was 0.10 (95% CI 0.08 to 0.14), 0.09 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.26) and 0.40 (95% CI 0.31 to 0.51), respectively; while in PESI subgroup, the OR was 0.14 (95% CI 0.13 to 0.16), 0.09 (95% CI 0.04 to 0.21), and 0.30 (95% CI 0.23 to 0.38), respectively. For accuracy analysis, the pooled sensitivity, the pooled specificity, and the overall weighted AUC for PESI predicting all-cause mortality was 0.909 (95% CI: 0.900 to 0.916), 0.411 (95% CI: 0.407 to 0.415), and 0.7853±0.0058, respectively; for PE-related mortality, it was 0.953 (95% CI: 0.913 to 0.978), 0.374 (95% CI: 0.360 to 0.388), and 0.8218±0.0349, respectively; for serious adverse events, it was 0.821 (95% CI: 0.795 to 0.845), 0.389 (95% CI: 0.384 to 0.394), and 0.6809±0.0208, respectively. In sPESI subgroup, the AUC for predicting all-cause mortality, PE-related mortality, and serious adverse events was 0.7920±0.0117, 0.8317±0.0547, and 0.6454±0.0197, respectively. In PESI subgroup, the AUC was 0.7856±0.0075, 0.8158±0.0451, and 0.6609±0.0252, respectively.


PESI has discriminative power to predict the short-term death and adverse outcome events in patients with acute pulmonary embolism, the PESI and the sPESI have similar accuracy, while sPESI is easier to use. However, the calibration for predicting prognosis can’t be calculated from this meta-analysis, some prospective studies for accessing PESI predicting calibration can be recommended.

Acute pulmonary embolism; Pulmonary embolism severity index; Prognosis