Background: To date, little is known regarding levels of physical activity (PA) and its clinical correlates in people who have suffered a pulmonary embolism (PE). This study aimed to explore daily PA levels after PE.
Method: 145 people were recruited 6 months to 6 years after diagnosis of PE (mean: 23.1 months SD 17.2). PA levels were assessed using an activity monitor for 7 consecutive days. Moreover, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), dyspnea, exercise capacity using the incremental shuttle walk test (ISWT), and resting lung and cardiac function were assessed. Participants were stratified by tertiles based on mean steps/day.
Results: Participants achieved a mean of 6494 (SD 3294) steps/day and means in the tertiles were 3268 (low), 6130 (moderate) and 10236 (high). Sex, BMI, PE parameters (i.e., time since PE, previous venous thromboembolism, PE severity, and use of anticoagulants), lung function, cardiac function, smoking status, and dyspnea on exertion were similar between groups. There were no significant differences in dyspnea, disease-specific or generic HRQoL, except for the EQ-5D visual analogue scale with the low tertile having a lower score (p=0.03). Participants in the low tertile were older (p=0.04) and less likely to be employed (p=0.01). Participants in the high tertile performed better on the ISWT (p<0.001) and had less comorbidities (p=<0.01).
Conclusion: Physical activity levels after PE appear to be related to physical performance and social factors more than PE-specific factors. Spirometry results and cardiac function are not associated with PA in post-PE patients.