Prognostic value of the Geneva prediction rule in patients in whom pulmonary embolism is ruled out


Dr Marc Righini and Dr Laurent Bertoletti, Division of Angiology and Haemostasis, Department of Internal Medicine, Geneva Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland. (fax: +41-22-3729299; e-mail:;


Abstract.  Bertoletti L, Le Gal G, Aujesky D, Roy P-M, Sanchez O, Verschuren F, Bounameaux H, Perrier A, Righini M. (University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; Université De Saint-Etienne, Jean Monnet, Saint-Etienne; Brest University Hospital, Brest, France; Bern University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland; Angers University Hospital, Angers; Paris Descartes University, Paris, France; Saint-Luc University Hospital, Bruxelles, Belgium; and University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland). Prognostic value of the Geneva prediction rule in patients in whom pulmonary embolism is ruled out. J Intern Med 2011; 269: 433–440.

Objectives.  The prognosis of patients in whom pulmonary embolism (PE) is suspected but ruled out is poorly understood. We evaluated whether the initial assessment of clinical probability of PE could help to predict the prognosis for these patients.

Design.  Retrospective analysis of data obtained during a prospective multicentre management study.

Setting.  Six general and teaching hospitals in Belgium, France and Switzerland.

Subjects.  In 1334 patients in whom PE was ruled out, 3-month mortality data were available (hospital readmission status was unknown for three patients) and clinical probability was evaluated with the revised Geneva score (RGS).

Main outcome measures.  Three-month mortality and readmission rates.

Results.  Three-month mortality and readmissions rates were 3% and 19%, respectively and differed significantly depending on the RGS-determined PE probability group (P < 0.001). When compared with patients presenting with a low probability, the risk of death after 3 months was higher in cases of intermediate or high RGS-based probability {odds ratio: 8.7 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.7–28.5] and 22.6 (95%CI: 2.1–241.2), respectively}. The readmission risk increased with PE probability group (P < 0.001). The main causes of death were cancer, respiratory failure and cardiovascular failure. In total, 86% of patients with low RGS-based probability were alive and had not been readmitted to hospital, whereas other patients had a twofold increased risk of death or readmission during the 3-month follow-up. The simplified Geneva score, calculated a posteriori, gave similar results.

Conclusions.  Initial assessment of clinical probability may help to stratify prognosis of patients in whom PE has been ruled out. Patients with a low probability of PE have a good prognosis. Whether patients with higher probability might benefit from more vigilant care should be evaluated.