Pulmonary embolism

How Does Gender Affect Pulmonary Embolism Outcomes?

In a new study that aimed to clarify the unclear and highly debated gender differences in the occurrence of acute pulmonary embolism (PE), researchers found that women likely experience more severe cases of PE and worse outcomes compared with men.

For their study, the researchers evaluated 1428 patients (795 women and 633 men) with acute PE who were treated at Tokyo Cardiac Care Unit Network Institutions between 2010 and 2014.

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Results of the study showed that women were older than men (68.0 years vs 60.9 years), and that women more often experienced dyspnea and disturbed consciousness compared with men. However, women had fewer leg symptoms and occurrences of chest pain than men.

The following were also observed more often in women than in men:

  • Higher pulmonary arterial systolic pressure (51.5 mmHg vs 47.4 mmHg).
  • Higher serum B-type natriuretic peptide levels (180.4 pg/mL vs 107.0 pg/mL) upon admission.
  • Severe cases with massive embolism (14.6% vs 9.2%).
  • 30-day mortality associated with PE (5.0% vs 2.8%).

Additionally, the researchers found that inferior vena cava filters were used less often in women than in men (31.9% vs 37.3%).

“In conclusion, [female acute PE] patients were older with higher severity than [male acute PE] patients, resulting in poor prognosis,” the researchers concluded.

—Christina Vogt


Tanabe Y, Yamamoto T, Murata T, et al. Gender differences among patients with acute pulmonary embolism [Published online June 22, 2018]. Am J Cardiol.