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Establishing diagnostic criteria and treatment of subsegmental pulmonary embolism: A Delphi analysis of experts


den Exter, Paul L; Kroft, Lucia J M; Gonsalves, Carol; Le Gal, Gregoire; Schaefer-Prokop, Cornelia M; et al; Barco, Stefano (2020). Establishing diagnostic criteria and treatment of subsegmental pulmonary embolism: A Delphi analysis of experts. Research and Practice in Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 4(8):1251-1261.

Abstract

Background

Improved imaging techniques have increased the incidence of subsegmental pulmonary embolism (ssPE). Indirect evidence is suggesting that ssPE may represent a more benign presentation of venous thromboembolism not necessarily requiring anticoagulant treatment. However, correctly diagnosing ssPE is challenging with reported low interobserver agreement, partly due to the lack of widely accepted diagnostic criteria.

Objectives

We sought to derive uniform diagnostic criteria for ssPE, guided by expert consensus.

Methods

Based on an extensive literature review and expert opinion of a Delphi steering committee, two surveys including statements regarding diagnostic criteria and management options for ssPE were established. These surveys were conducted electronically among two panels, respectively: expert thoracic radiologists and clinical venous thromboembolism specialists. The Delphi method was used to achieve consensus after multiple survey rounds. Consensus was defined as a level of agreement >70%.

Results

Twenty-nine of 40 invited radiologists (73%) and 40 of 51 clinicians (78%) participated. Following two survey rounds by the expert radiologists, consensus was achieved on 15 of 16 statements, including on the established diagnostic criteria for ssPE (96% agreement): a contrast defect in a subsegmental artery, that is, the first arterial branch division of any segmental artery independent of artery diameter, visible in at least two subsequent axial slices, using a computed tomography scanner with a desired maximum collimator width of ≤1 mm. These criteria were approved by 83% of the clinical venous thromboembolism (VTE) specialists. The clinical expert panel favored anticoagulant treatment in case of prior VTE, antiphospholipid syndrome, pregnancy, cancer, and proximal deep vein thrombosis.

Conclusion

The results of this analysis provide standard radiological criteria for ssPE that may be applicable in both clinical trials and practice.

Abstract

Background

Improved imaging techniques have increased the incidence of subsegmental pulmonary embolism (ssPE). Indirect evidence is suggesting that ssPE may represent a more benign presentation of venous thromboembolism not necessarily requiring anticoagulant treatment. However, correctly diagnosing ssPE is challenging with reported low interobserver agreement, partly due to the lack of widely accepted diagnostic criteria.

Objectives

We sought to derive uniform diagnostic criteria for ssPE, guided by expert consensus.

Methods

Based on an extensive literature review and expert opinion of a Delphi steering committee, two surveys including statements regarding diagnostic criteria and management options for ssPE were established. These surveys were conducted electronically among two panels, respectively: expert thoracic radiologists and clinical venous thromboembolism specialists. The Delphi method was used to achieve consensus after multiple survey rounds. Consensus was defined as a level of agreement >70%.

Results

Twenty-nine of 40 invited radiologists (73%) and 40 of 51 clinicians (78%) participated. Following two survey rounds by the expert radiologists, consensus was achieved on 15 of 16 statements, including on the established diagnostic criteria for ssPE (96% agreement): a contrast defect in a subsegmental artery, that is, the first arterial branch division of any segmental artery independent of artery diameter, visible in at least two subsequent axial slices, using a computed tomography scanner with a desired maximum collimator width of ≤1 mm. These criteria were approved by 83% of the clinical venous thromboembolism (VTE) specialists. The clinical expert panel favored anticoagulant treatment in case of prior VTE, antiphospholipid syndrome, pregnancy, cancer, and proximal deep vein thrombosis.

Conclusion

The results of this analysis provide standard radiological criteria for ssPE that may be applicable in both clinical trials and practice.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Angiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:November 2020
Deposited On:15 Jan 2021 14:17
Last Modified:01 Feb 2021 16:22
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:2475-0379
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/rth2.12422
PubMed ID:33313465

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