Implementation of a clinical prediction tool for pulmonary embolism diagnosis in a tertiary teaching hospital reduces the number of computed tomography pulmonary angiograms performed

Chongweng Ong, Vivek Malipatil, M Lavercombe, K G W Teo, Paul Bernard Coughlin, Deborah S Leach, Manfred Spanger, Francis Thien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


To evaluate the effect of implementing the Wells score clinical prediction tool (CPT) on rationalising the use of computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) for diagnosing pulmonary embolism (PE). Methods: Within a tertiary teaching hospital, a retrospective study was conducted applying Wells score to all CTPA ordered in the first quarter of 2007. Subsequently, an algorithm including Wells score and d-dimer assay was developed to assist clinicians in rationalising their ordering of CTPA. A prospective study was performed from February to August 2009 to assess the impact of this algorithm. CTPA results, d-dimer levels, referral sources and dates were recorded. The number of CTPA performed over a 7-month period following implementation of the algorithm was compared with the same period during the previous year. PE prevalence within each risk category was compared with the published literature. Results: Three hundred and thirty-three patients were investigated with CTPA in the prospective study period. Two hundred and sixty-eight patients (80.4 of cases) had complete data. The prevalence of PE in the present study was 13.8 with 57 (21.2 ) patients stratified to low risk, 169 (63.0 ) to intermediate risk and 42 (15.6 ) to high risk. Subgroup prevalence was 8.8 , 11.8 and 23.8 respectively. Compared with the same period in 2008, 121 (26.6 ) less CTPA were performed. Conclusion: Institutional implementation of a clinical prediction tool into the decision-making process is feasible and significantly reduces the number of CTPA being performed, with substantial cost savings and patient benefits. ? 2012 The Authors. Internal Medicine Journal ? 2012 Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169 - 174
Number of pages6
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this