OBJECTIVES: To evaluate case series studies that quantitatively assess the effects of catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) and compare the efficacy of CDT and anticoagulation in patients with acute lower extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT). METHODS: Relevant databases, including PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, Ovid MEDLINE and Scopus, were searched through January 2017. The inclusion criteria were applied to select patients with acute lower extremity DVT treated with CDT or with anticoagulation. In the case series studies, the pooled estimates of efficacy outcomes for patency rate, complete lysis, rethrombosis and post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) were calculated across the studies. In studies comparing CDT with anticoagulation, summary odds ratios (ORs) were calculated. RESULTS: Twenty-five articles (six comparing CDT with anticoagulation and 19 case series) including 2254 patients met the eligibility criteria. In the case series studies, the pooled results were a patency rate of 0.87 (95% CI: 0.85-0.89), complete lysis 0.58 (95% CI: 0.40-0.75), rethrombosis 0.11 (95% CI: 0.06-0.17) and PTS 0.10 (95% CI: 0.08-0.12). Six studies comparing the efficacy outcomes of CDT and anticoagulation showed that CDT was associated with a reduction of PTS (OR 0.38, 95%CI 0.26-0.55, p<0.0001) and a higher patency rate (OR 4.76, 95%CI 2.14-10.56, p<0.0001). CONCLUSION: Acute lower extremity DVT patients receiving CDT were found to have a lower incidence of PTS and a higher incidence of patency rate. In our meta-analysis, CDT is shown to be an effective treatment for acute lower extremity DVT patients.
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