AIMS: Data on the early course and use of systemic thrombolysis in pregnant women with pulmonary embolism associated or not with haemodynamic failure are scarce. We investigated these aspects using the information from the German Nationwide Inpatient Registry (years 2005-2016).
METHODS AND RESULTS: In Germany, all diagnoses referring to hospitalized patients are coded according to the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision with German Modification. We analysed data of pregnant women aged 18-50 years for whom the following diagnoses were recorded during hospitalization: (i) pulmonary embolism (I26) during pregnancy or peripartum (O09) or (ii) obstetric thromboembolism (O88.2). Haemodynamic failure at any time during the in-hospital stay was defined as need for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (OPS code 8-77) or the presence of shock (International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision with German Modification code R57). The primary study outcome was in-hospital death. A total of 8 271 327 births were registered in Germany from 2005 to 2016. During this 12 year time period, there were 1846 hospitalizations for pregnancy-associated pulmonary embolism in patients aged 18-50, corresponding to 2.2 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.1-2.3] cases every 10 000 births and 0.2% of all hospitalizations for pulmonary embolism in Germany. The median age was 31 years, and the median length of hospitalization was 8 days. A total of 63 deaths were reported, corresponding to an overall in-hospital fatality rate of 3.4% (95% CI: 2.7-4.4) and a pulmonary embolism-related mortality rate of 0.8 (95% CI: 0.6-1.0) per 100 000 (live) births per year. Pulmonary embolism-related deaths in hospitalized pregnant women represented 14% of all maternal deaths recorded in Germany between 2005 and 2016. A total of 135 (7.3%) women had haemodynamic failure, of whom 51 (37.8%) received systemic thrombolysis and 50 (37.0%) died.
CONCLUSIONS: Pulmonary embolism-related fatality remains substantial in pregnant women with pulmonary embolism and represents a frequent cause of maternal mortality. The use of systemic thrombolysis was reported in one third of pregnant women with pulmonary embolism and haemodynamic failure. Better preventive and management strategies should be urgently implemented in this vulnerable patient group.