Eligible studies were prospective studies of adults with acute symptomatic radiographically confirmed pulmonary embolism who were discharged home from the emergency department or clinic after assessment but without hospitalisation. Studies needed to report objectively confirmed outcomes. Patients assessed at home were included. Studies had to report explicit inclusion and exclusion criteria, including any risk assessment tool used to assess patient eligibility, as well as a well-defined pharmacotherapy and follow-up treatment protocol. Studies of mixed populations were excluded unless data for those who received only outpatient treatment could be obtained separately.
Most of the included studies reported using spiral computed tomography pulmonary angiography, pulmonary angiography and/or ventilation perfusion lung scintigraphy to confirm pulmonary embolism. Where reported, studies were conducted in the emergency department or outpatient thrombosis units. All were conducted in academic centres; one was also set in community centres. The mean age of participants ranged from 47 to 69 years, 65% of participants were discharged home and where reported 42% to 70% of the patients were female. Populations varied considerably between studies in terms of signs, symptoms, comorbidities and treatment regimens.
Two reviewers independently selected studies for the review; disagreements were resolved by referral to a third reviewer.