Ethnic differences in out-of-hospital fatal pulmonary embolism

Yingying Tang, Barbara Sampson, Stephanie Pack, Krunal Shah, Sung Yon Um, Dawei Wang, Tao Wang, Mechthild Prinz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background-: In-hospital pulmonary embolism (PE) has been extensively studied in large populations; however, out-of-hospital fatal PE studies are rare. Here, we systematically evaluated a large number of decedents who suffered fatal PE outside of hospitals and were subsequently investigated by the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner. Methods and results-: A total of 578 consecutive out-of-hospital fatal PE cases were analyzed. All underwent autopsy, toxicology, microbiology, and genetic testing. Incidence rates and baseline characteristics were analyzed. Race-adjusted incidence rates of out-of-hospital fatal PE (per 100 000 people per year) were as follows: blacks, 3.73 (95% confidence interval, 3.31 to 4.11); whites, 1.15 (95% confidence interval, 0.96 to 1.33); and Hispanics, 0.93 (95% confidence interval, 0.72 to 1.10). Overall, obesity (body mass index 30 kg/m) was 2.5- to 3-fold higher in fatal PE cases than in the New York City population as a whole. Carrier frequencies for prothrombin G20210A in fatal PE were 2- to 10-fold higher than reported frequencies in ethnically matched controls. Cumulative distribution curves showed that compared with whites, blacks and Hispanics died at significantly younger ages (P<0.001). Univariate and multiple linear regression analyses showed that in addition to nonwhite ethnicity, heterozygous carriers for factor V Leiden (P=0.001) and obesity (P=0.002) are significantly associated with younger age at death. CONCLUSION-: There are unique epidemiological differences in out-of-hospital fatal PE between ethnic groups in New York City.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2219-2225
Number of pages7
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 24 2011


  • death, sudden
  • epidemiology
  • ethnic groups
  • pulmonary embolism
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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