Pharmacists as members of an interdisciplinary pulmonary embolism response team

Christine M. Groth*, Nicole M. Acquisto, Colin Wright, Mark Marinescu, Scott McNitt, Ilan Goldenberg, Scott J. Cameron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Pulmonary embolism response teams (PERTs) were developed to assist with diagnosis, risk stratification, and management of intermediate and high-risk pulmonary embolism (PE) and have been shown to reduce 90-day mortality. The pharmacist's role on the PERT is not well defined. Objectives: Describe the pharmacist's role as a PERT member and determine if pharmacists can improve time to anticoagulation and promote use of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) instead of unfractionated heparin (UFH). Methods: A retrospective, observational study of adult patients with massive or submassive PE between January 2014 and May 2020. Patient demographics, clinical variables, anticoagulation treatment/timing, and pharmacist activities during PERT response were evaluated. Patients were divided into three groups for comparisons (pre-PERT vs post-PERT with a pharmacist vs post-PERT without a pharmacist). Wilcoxon rank-sum or Kruskal-Wallis test and chi-squared analysis were used for continuous and categorical data, respectively. Results: A total of 573 patients were included (mean age 63.2 ± 15.6 years, 54% male, 78% submassive PE); 137 in the pre-PERT and 436 in the post-PERT groups. Within the post-PERT group, 305 patients (70%) had a pharmacist as a member of the PERT, of which 222 (73%) had a documented pharmacotherapy-related intervention/activity. Most (n = 178, 58%) involved a pharmacist facilitating ordering/administration of an anticoagulant/thrombolytic. Median time from diagnosis to anticoagulation was significantly reduced in the post-PERT groups (pre-PERT: 104 minutes [IQR 124.5], post-PERT with a pharmacist: 63 minutes [IQR 84], post-PERT without a pharmacist: 75.5 minutes [IQR 113], P =.0001). More patients in the post-PERT groups received LMWH compared to UFH when a pharmacist was involved vs without a pharmacist (69.5% vs 53.3%, P =.0019) and major bleeding events were reduced (pre-PERT: 14.6%, post-PERT with a pharmacist: 4.6%, and post-PERT without a pharmacist: 9.9%, P =.0013). Conclusion: Pharmacists have an active role on the PERT and their involvement was associated with a shorter diagnosis to anticoagulation time, increased LMWH use, and fewer major bleeding events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-397
Number of pages8
JournalJACCP Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of HealthR01 HL158801-01


    • Human
    • interdisciplinary studies
    • pharmacists
    • pulmonary embolism


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