Massive Pulmonary Embolism: Treatment with Thrombus Fragmentation and Local Fibrinolysis with Recombinant Human-Tissue Plasminogen Activator
Purpose: To report the results of thrombus fragmentation in combination with local fibrinolysis using recombinant human-tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) in patients with massive pulmonary embolism.
Methods: Five patients with massive pulmonary embolism were treated with thrombus fragmentation followed by intrapulmonary injection of rtPA. Clot fragmentation was performed with a guidewire, angiographic catheter, and balloon catheter. Three patients had undergone recent surgery; one of them received a reduced dosage of rtPA.
Results: All patients survived and showed clinical improvement with a resultant significant (p < 0.05) decrease in the pulmonary blood pressure (mean systolic pulmonary blood pressure before treatment, 49 mmHg; 4 hr after treatment, 28 mmHg). Angiographic follow-up in three patients revealed a decrease in thrombus material and an increase in pulmonary perfusion. Two patients developed retroperitoneal hematomas requiring transfusion.
Conclusion: Clot fragmentation and local fibrinolysis with rtPA was an effective therapy for massive pulmonary embolism. Bleeding at the puncture site was a frequent complication.
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