Mortality due to pulmonary embolism has decreased over the last years, according to a study of the RIETE group, which has been recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC). An article that Valentí Fuster, cardiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital of New York, responsible for the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) and chief editor of the article considers as “excellent”.

The study, led by Dr. David Jiménez, pulmonogist at Ramón y Cajal Hospital of Madrid, analyses the evolution of 23.858 patients with pulmonary embolism of several countries  of the international RIETE registry (Computerized Registry of Patients with Venous Thromboembolism) between 2001 and 2013. The article concludes that during these 12 years, mortality of these patients after the first month has changed from 6,6% between 2001 and 2005 to 4,9% between 2010 and 2013.

And not only this, but also hospitalization days have decreased (from 13,6 days to 9,3), recurrence of new episodes of the disease (1,1% to 0,6%) and bleedings as a consequence of treatment (from 4% to 2,8%).

“All analyzed indicators of the pulmonary embolism improve”, says Manuel Monreal, chief of section of Internal Medicine of Germans Trias I Pujol Hospital (Badalona) and supervisor of the study, “what means that we have a higher and better knowledge of the disease”.

Out of the 23.858 patients with pulmonary embolism analyzed, 46% were men and 54% were women, with a mean age of 67 years. 22% of the patients, as well as pulmonary embolism, had cancer, one of the main risk factors for the development of venous thromboembolic disease (VTE). Immobilization, another risk factor, was present in 23% of the cases; surgery in 11% and VTE records in 14, 5% of the patients.

“Severity of the pulmonary embolism has not changed”, says Dr. Monreal, “We’ve just learned to treat it better”. As well as clinical experience, there is a contribution of new anticoagulant therapies and an increase of low molecular weight heparin administration.