Catheter-directed thrombolysis following vena cava filtration for severe deep venous thrombosis
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Massive deep venous thrombosis with marked venous outflow obstruction can result in limb loss or end-organ injury. Systemically administered drugs may not reach thrombi in therapeutic concentrations and surgical and thrombolytic strategies carry a small but real risk of pulmonary embolus—similar to the risks with anticoagulation alone. We therefore developed a strategy in which catheter-directed thrombolysis was used to deliver high concentrations of a plasminogen activator directly to the thrombus combined with placement of a downstream Greenfield filter to protect patients from pulmonary embolus. From 1984 to 1993 six patients were treated with this regimen. All had severe symptoms of less than 4 days' duration. On radiologic evaluation four patients had large iliofemoral and/or inferior vena cava thrombosis, one had subclavian/innominate vein thrombosis, and one had transplant renal vein/iliofemoral/inferior vena cava thrombosis. A Greenfield filter was first placed downstream prior to imbedding an infusion catheter in the greatest mass of thrombus for subsequent infusion of urokinase (n=4) or streptokinase (n=2). In four patients the catheter traversed the Greenfield filter. All patients were given bolus lytic therapy followed by maintenance infusions ranging in duration from 24 hours to 12 days. Five patients remained on heparin simultaneously. Clot lysis was achieved in all patients with hemodynamic, symptomatic, and arteriographic improvement. There were no deaths, pulmonary emboli, or complications of filter placement. One patient had minor bleeding at the puncture site and another had catheter-related infection. At follow-up ranging from 8 months to 9 years all patients are asymptomatic with patent venous systems confirmed by duplex ultrasound imaging. Thus catheter-directed thrombolysis combined with vena cava filtration offers a safe and effective alternative to simple anticoagulation, surgery, or systemic thrombolysis. This approach may warrant more frequent use in patients with severe and disabling thrombosis of major deep veins.
KeywordsPulmonary Embolus Plasminogen Activator Deep Venous Thrombosis Streptokinase Venous Outflow
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