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Pulmonary Embolism Incidence and Fatality Trends in Chinese Hospitals from 1997 to 2008: A Multicenter Registration Study
Published: Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Author: Yuanhua Yang et al.

by Yuanhua Yang, Lirong Liang, Zhenguo Zhai, Hangyong He, Wanmu Xie, Xiaoxia Peng, Chen Wang, on behalf of investigators for the National Cooperative Project for the Prevention and Treatment of PTE-DVT


There has not been sufficient evidence to support the Asians being less susceptible to pulmonary embolism (PE) than other ethnicities, because the prevalence of PE/deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in different racial and ethnic groups has not been carefully studied until recently except in Caucasians. To test the hypothesis that the Chinese population has a lower risk for PE, this study comprehensively assessed the hospital-based incidence and case fatality rates for PE during the 1997–2008 in China.


A registration study of patients with suspected PE syndromes admitted to 60 level-3 hospitals involved in the National Cooperative Project for the Prevention and Treatment of Venous Thromboembolism (NCPPT) was conducted from January 1997 to December 2008. The only exclusion criterion was an age of less than 18 years. Helical computed tomography scan, ventilation-perfusion lung scintigraphy or pulmonary angiography was carried out before or after hospitalization. All images were reviewed and evaluated independently by two specialists.


A total of 18,206 patients were confirmed with PE from 16,972,182 hospital admissions. The annual incidence was 0.1% (95% CI: 0.1% to 0.2%). The overall incidence of PE in male patients (0.2%, 95% CI: 0.1% to 0.3%) was higher than that in female patients (0.1% and 95% CI: 0.0% to 0.1%). An increasing incidence gradient for PE was noticed from Southern to Northern China. In addition, the case fatality rate was apparently decreasing: 25.1% (95% CI: 16.2% to 36.9%) in 1997 to 8.7% (95% CI: 3.5% to 15.8%) in 2008.


Our findings suggest the relatively stable PE incidence and decreasing fatality trends in Chinese hospitals may be partially attributable to the implementation of the NCCPT and suggest the government should reevaluate the severity of PE so that health resources for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of PE could be used to their fullest.