Incidental pulmonary embolisms (IPEs) are common in cancer patients. Examining the characteristics and outcomes of IPEs in cancer patients can help to ensure proper management, promoting better outcomes. To determine the clinical characteristics, management, and outcomes of IPEs for cancer patients, we conducted a 1:2 ratio case-control study and identified all consecutive patients with IPE who visited the emergency department at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between 1 January 2006 and 1 January 2016. Each IPE case was matched with 2 controls using a propensity score obtained using logistic regression for IPE status with other factors affecting overall survival. A total of 904 confirmed cases were included in the analysis. IPE frequently occurred during the first year after cancer diagnosis (odds ratio [OR], 2.79; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.37-3.29; P< .001). Patients receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy had a nearly threefold greater risk of developing IPE (OR, 2.87; 95% CI, 2.42-3.40; P< .001). In-hospital mortality was 1.9%. The 7- and 30-day mortality rates among the cases were 1.8% and 9.9%, respectively, which was significantly higher than in the control groups: 0.2% and 3.1%, respectively (P< .001). IPE was associated with reduced overall survival (hazard ratio [HR], 1.93; 95% CI, 1.74-2.14; P< .001). Concurrent incidental venous thromboembolism was identified in 189 of the patients (20.9%) and was also associated with reduced overall survival (HR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.21-2.25; P = .001). Our results show that IPE events are associated with poor outcomes in cancer patients. Proper management plans similar to those of symptomatic pulmonary embolisms are essential.
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