Safe exclusion of pulmonary embolism using the Wells rule and qualitative D-dimer testing in primary care: prospective cohort study

Geert-Jan Geersing*, Petra M. G. Erkens, Wim A. M. Lucassen, Harry R. Buller, Hugo ten Cate, Arno W. Hoes, Karel G. M. Moons, Martin H. Prins, Ruud Oudega, Henk C. P. M. van Weert, Henri E. J. H. Stoffers

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective To validate the use of the Wells clinical decision rule combined with a point of care D-dimer test to safely exclude pulmonary embolism in primary care. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting Primary care across three different regions of the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Maastricht, and Utrecht). Participants 598 adults with suspected pulmonary embolism in primary care. Interventions Doctors scored patients according to the seven variables of the Wells rule and carried out a qualitative point of care D-dimer test. All patients were referred to secondary care and diagnosed according to local protocols. Pulmonary embolism was confirmed or refuted on the basis of a composite reference standard, including spiral computed tomography and three months' follow-up. Main outcome measures Diagnostic accuracy (sensitivity and specificity), proportion of patients at low risk (efficiency), number of missed patients with pulmonary embolism in low risk category (false negative rate), and the presence of symptomatic venous thromboembolism, based on the composite reference standard, including events during the follow-up period of three months. Results Pulmonary embolism was present in 73 patients (prevalence 12.2%). On the basis of a threshold Wells score of
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere6564
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2012

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