Diagnostic Value of Galectin-3 for Identifying Acute Pulmonary Embolism in the Emergency Department



      Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a common disease associated with high mortality and morbidity. Diagnosing PE is challenging due to diverse clinical presentations and the lack of specific biomarkers.


      We hypothesized that plasma galectin-3 (Gal-3) levels might reflect the severity of acute PE and be useful for diagnostic assessment.


      In this prospective study, 150 patients (100 patients with PE and 50 control patients) were included. Patients were stratified into high-risk, medium-risk, and low-risk groups according to the Wells and revised Geneva scoring systems, and Gal-3 levels were compared among the groups. PE was diagnosed by means of computed tomography pulmonary angiography.


      In this study, of the 100 PE patients included in the study, 69 patients recovered and were discharged and 31 patients died. Median Gal-3 value in the PE group was 27.0 ng/mL (range 11.5–35.0 ng/mL), whereas the median Gal-3 value in the control group was significantly lower at 8.8 ng/mL (range 1.0–21.0 ng/mL) (p < 0.001). When the Gal-3 values of the PE group and the control group were evaluated with the receiver operator characteristic curve, the area under the curve was calculated as 0.99 (95% confidence interval 0.979–1). At a Gal-3 cutoff value of 13.55 ng/mL, which was determined to be the most appropriate value for PE diagnosis, the sensitivity was 98% and the specificity was 92%.


      A biomarker that rapidly and accurately diagnoses acute PE in the emergency department can be an extremely useful tool. We concluded that plasma Gal-3 levels can be regarded as a promising marker of acute PE.


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