The Results of Thrombolytic Treatment in Patients With High-risk Pulmonary Embolism

DOI: 10.2478/jce-2019-0013

Background: Mortality rates due to massive pulmonary embolism (PE) are much higher than estimated. Although thrombolytic therapy is controversial, it can be a life-saving procedure and can be safely used in patients with massive PE. Study aim: We aimed to share the results of thrombolytic treatment in patients with massive PE. Material and methods: We retrospectively evaluated 72 patients with PE admitted between January 2010 and April 2018 to the Department of Pulmonary Medicine, VM Medicalpark Samsun Hospital, Samsun, Turkey. The data of patients who received thrombolytic treatment were retrospectively analyzed. Results: The female to male ratio was 24/48, with a mean age of 62.7 ± 12.6 (minimum 27, maximum 88) years. The diagnosis of massive PE was established with echocardiography in all patients and was confirmed via pulmonary CT angiography in 45 patients (62.5%) who presented an appropriate clinical status for this imaging technique. The most common symptoms were dyspnea (90.3%), chest pain (83.3%), and syncope (40.2%). The S1Q3T3 electrocardiography pattern was noted in 82% of patients, who rapidly recovered after thrombolytic therapy. Cardiopulmonary arrest was seen in 25 patients (37.2%), and thrombolytic treatment was administered during cardiopulmonary resuscitation in 18% (n = 13) of patients. The survival rate was 30.7% (n = 4) in patients with cardiopulmonary arrest who received thrombolytic treatment in the emergency room. The complications of rt-PA treatment included minor hemorrhages in 6.4% (n = 5), major hemorrhages in 2.7% (n = 2), and allergic reactions in 1.3% (n = 1) of patients. None of the patients had deceased as a complication of thrombolytic treatment. The overall mortality rate was 26.2% (n = 19), and 12.5% (n = 9) of the patients have died in first 24 hours after thrombolysis. Conclusions: We concluded that the risk factors, ECG, and echocardiography are key indicators for the suspicion of massive PE in patients with hemodynamic shock. Based on our experience, early thrombolytic therapy is a life-saving intervention in patients with diagnosed and/or suspected massive PE.