NEWS | August 8, 2018

UC Davis team recognized for national leadership in pulmonary embolism care

(SACRAMENTO) — A team of UC Davis physicians and surgeons has been recognized for helping to launch a national effort to guide standards for pulmonary embolism (PE) care and research.

The PERT Consortium has been recognized as founders of a nationwide effort to streamline treatment and improve survival for patients with pulmonary embolism. Pictured from left are Jennifer Kristjansson, Christian Sebat, Catherine Vu and Ian Julie. Not pictured are Susan Murin, Paul Perry, Rex Pillai and Victor Rodriguez.

Known as the Pulmonary Embolism Response Team Consortium, or PERT, the initiative is expected to improve survival following PE — the nation's third most common cause of death from cardiovascular disease.

PE is a major public health concern. It is estimated to affect 900,000 people each year, with as many as 100,000 dying within one month of diagnosis and about half experiencing long-term complications.

“Strategies for addressing pulmonary embolism can vary depending on the specialist,” said Catherine Vu, chief of vascular and interventional radiology. "The difference at PERT hospitals like ours is that we are committed to quickly pulling together everyone who cares for patients with PE for collaboration and decision making rather than relying on the approach of one specialty over another.”

At UC Davis, PERT links experts from interventional radiology, cardiac surgery, pulmonary and critical care medicine, and emergency medicine who determine the best course of action for patients. They also work with PERT teams nationwide to improve evidence-based standards of care and launch clinical trials of new therapeutic options.

PERT plaque

PE occurs when a blood clot lodges in vessels of the lungs, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain and cough. Treatments range from medications and careful monitoring to catheter-based intervention or surgery. Patients with recent surgeries, who have been bed-ridden or sedentary, or who have cardiovascular disease or cancer have higher risks of PE. 

Vu believes that mortality from PE will decline as awareness and use of the PERT model-of-care grows.

“Our commitment to a rapid and multidisciplinary treatment approach and to long-term leadership in bringing greater certainty to prevention and intervention protocols will save lives everywhere,” she said.

Additional information about the national PERT Consortium initiative is available online.