Purpose: Little is known about the quality of life following pulmonary embolism (PE). The aim of the study was to assess the 12-month illness burden in terms of health-related quality of life (HrQoL) and mortality, in relation to differences in patient characteristics. Methods: The PREFER in VTE registry, a prospective, observational study conducted in seven European countries, was used. Within 2 weeks following an acute symptomatic PE, patients were recruited and followed up for 12 months. Associations between patient characteristics and HrQoL (EQ-5D-5L) and mortality were examined using a regression approach. Results: Among 1399 PE patients, the EQ-5D-5L index score at baseline was 0.712 (SD 0.265), which among survivors gradually improved to 0.835 (0.212) at 12 months. For those patients with and without active cancer, the average index score at baseline was 0.658 (0.275) and 0.717 (0.264), respectively. Age and previous stroke were significant factors for predicting index scores in those with/without active cancer. Bleeding events but not recurrences had a noticeable impact on the HrQoL of patients without active cancer. The 12-month mortality rate post-acute period was 8.1%, ranging from 1.4% in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to 16.8% in Italy. Mortality differed between patients with active cancer and those without (42.7% vs. 4.7%). Conclusion: PE is associated with a substantial decrease in HrQoL at baseline which normalizes following treatment. PE is associated with a high mortality rate especially in patients with cancer, with significant country variation. Bleeding events, in particular, impact the burden of PE.
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