Journal of electrocardiology, Volume 61, 05 June 2020, Pages 141-146 Lack of diagnostic utility of the ECG-derived ventricular gradient in patients with suspected acute pulmonary embolism. Meijer FMM, Hendriks SV, Huisman MV, van der Hulle T, Swenne CA, Kies P, Jongbloed MRM, Egorova AD, Vliegen HW, Klok FA

Introduction

The YEARS algorithm was successfully developed to reduce the number of computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) investigations in the diagnostic management of patients with suspected pulmonary embolism (PE), although half of patients still needed to be referred for CTPA. We hypothesized that ECG derived ventricular gradient optimized for right ventricular pressure overload (VG-RVPO), an easy to use tool for detecting PE-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH), may further improve the efficiency of the YEARS algorithm.

Methods

In this post-hoc analysis of the Years study, ECGs of 479 patients with suspected PE managed according to the YEARS algorithm were available for analysis. The diagnostic performance of VG-RVPO was assessed and likelihood ratios were calculated.

Results

PE was diagnosed in 88 patients (18%). In patients with confirmed PE, 34% had an abnormal VG-RVPO versus 24% of those without PE (odds ratio 1.6; 95%CI 0.94-2.6). The mean VG-RVPO was -22 ± 13 and did not differ between the two patient groups (-22 versus -20; mean difference - 2, 95% CI -4.8 to 1.3). The sensitivity of VG-RVPO for PE was 24% (95%CI 34-45), the specificity 76% (95%CI 71-80) and the c-statistic 0.45 (95% CI 0.38-0.51). When combined with the YEARS algorithm, the likelihood ratios of VG-RVPO remained close to 1.0. Ruling out PE in patients with an indication for CTPA based on a normal VG-RVPO would have resulted in 58 missed cases.

Conclusions

The VG-RVPO has no diagnostic value for suspected acute PE, either as stand-alone diagnostic test or combined with the YEARS algorithm.

Condensed abstract

This post-hoc analysis of the YEARS study failed to demonstrate incremental diagnostic value of VG-RVPO for acute PE, either as stand-alone diagnostic test or combined with the YEARS algorithm. Nevertheless, the role of VG-RVPO recorded on admission could potentially be valuable in the risk stratification of PE during hospitalization, although this remains to be studied.

Keywords: Electrocardiogram, Diagnosis, Pulmonary hypertension, Pulmonary embolism, Ventricular Gradient

J Electrocardiol. 2020 Jun;61:141-146