The objective of this study is to determine, by using rigorous methods, if pulmonary perfusion defects were detectable by ventilation-perfusion scintigraphy after percutaneous thrombolysis of clotted hemodialysis access grafts. Thirteen patients were studied. Four patients underwent pharmacomechanical thrombolysis with urokinase and the remainder had mechanical thrombolysis alone. Pre- and postthrombolysis scintigraphic studies were performed on all patients. Perfusion defects were described as vascular (well-defined borders confined to segmental boundaries) or nonvascular. Vascular defects were graded by severity (0 to 3) and area (0 to 3) for each involved segment. Nonvascular defects were graded by severity (0 to 1) and area (0 to 1). Two experienced readers evaluated the scans blinded to each other's results and all other clinical data, including thrombolysis outcomes. Twelve patients did not have any significant worsening of their perfusion defect scores postthrombolysis. In only one patient did a study show a new nonvascular perfusion defect with a matching ventilation abnormality. The defect was believed to be caused by mucus plugging. The patient had no evidence of pulmonary embolism. Our study suggests emboli that resulted from the pharmacomechanical or mechanical thrombolysis procedure were either small, underwent lysis before impacting the lung, or were below the limit of detection of ventilation-perfusion scintigraphy.
- Interventional procedure grafts
- Pulmonary embolism
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