Author(s): Engelhardt TC
BACKGROUND: Systemic thrombolysis rapidly improves right ventricular (RV) dysfunction in patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE) but is associated with major bleeding complications in up to 20%. The efficacy of low-dose, catheter-directed ultrasound-accelerated thrombolysis (USAT) on the reversal of RV dysfunction is unknown.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of 24 PE patients (60 ± 16 years) at intermediate (n = 19) or high risk (n = 5) from the East Jefferson General Hospital who were treated with USAT (mean rt-PA dose 33.5 ± 15.5mg over 19.7 hours) and received multiplanar contrast-enhanced chest computed tomography (CT) scans at baseline and after USAT at 38 ± 14 hours. All CT measurements were performed by an independent core laboratory.
RESULTS: The right-to-left ventricular dimension ratio (RV/LV ratio) from reconstructed CT four-chamber views at baseline of 1.33 ± 0.24 was significantly reduced to 1.00 ± 0.13 at follow-up by repeated-measures analysis of variance (p < 0.001). The CT-angiographic pulmonary clot burden as assessed by the modified Miller score was significantly reduced from 17.8 ± 5.3 to 8.7 ± 5.1 (p < 0.001). All patients were discharged alive, and there were no systemic bleeding complications but four major access site bleeding complications requiring transfusion and one suspected recurrent massive PE event. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with intermediate and high risk PE, low-dose USAT rapidly reverses right ventricular dilatation and pulmonary clot burden.Angiology: Open Access