Purpose: The standard medical management for patients in extremis from massive pulmonary embolism (PE) is systemic thrombolysis, but the utility of this treatment relative to catheterdirected intervention (CDI) is unknown. We evaluated the effectiveness of CDI as part of a treatment algorithm for life-threatening PE. Methods: A retrospective review was performed on 70 consecutive patients with suspected acute PE over a 10-year period (from 1997 to 2006) who had been referred for pulmonary angiography and/or intervention. The criteria for study inclusion were patients who received CDI due to angiographically confirmed massive PE and hemodynamic shock (shock index, ≥ 0.9). CDI involved suction embolectomy and fragmentation with or without catheter thrombolysis. Results: Twelve patients were treated with CDI. There were seven men and five women (mean age, 56 years; age range, 21 to 80 years). Seven patients (58%) were referred for CDI after failing systemic infusion with 100 mg of tissue plasminogen activator, and five patients (42%) had contraindications to systemic thrombolysis. Catheter-directed fragmentation and embolectomy were performed in all patients (100%). Additionally, catheter-guided thrombolysis was performed in eight patients (67%). Technical success was achieved in 12 of 12 cases (100%). There were no major procedural complications (0%). Significant hemodynamic improvement (shock index, < 0.9) was observed in 10 of 12 cases (83%). The remaining two patients (17%) died secondary to cardiac arrest within 24 h. Ten of 12 patients (83%) survived and remained stable until hospital discharge (mean duration, 20 days; range, 3 to 51 days). Conclusion: In the setting of hemodynamic shock from massive PE, CDI is potentially a life-saving treatment for patients who have not responded to or cannot tolerate systemic thrombolysis.
- Pulmonary embolism
- Radiology intervention
- Thrombolytic therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine