Catheter fragmentation of acute massive pulmonary thromboembolism: distal embolisation and pulmonary arterial pressure elevation

Nakazawa, K.; Tajima, H.; Murata, S.; Kumita, S.-I.; Yamamoto, T.; Tanaka, K.
November 2008
British Journal of Radiology;Nov2008, Vol. 81 Issue 971, p848
Academic Journal
The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between pulmonary arterial pressure and distal embolisation during catheter fragmentation for the treatment of acute massive pulmonary thromboembolism with haemodynamic impairment. 25 patients with haemodynamic impairment (8 men and 17 women; aged 27–82 years) were treated by mechanical thrombus fragmentation with a modified rotating pigtail catheter. After thrombus fragmentation, all patients received local fibrinolytic therapy, followed by manual clot aspiration using a percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) guide catheter. Pulmonary arterial pressure was continuously recorded during the procedure. The Friedman test and Wilcoxon test were applied for statistical analysis. Distal embolisation was confirmed by digital subtraction angiography in 7 of the 25 patients. A significant rise in mean pulmonary arterial pressure occurred after thrombus fragmentation (before: 34.1 mmHg; after: 37.9 mmHg; p<0.05), and this group showed a significant decrease in mean pulmonary arterial pressure after thrombus aspiration (25.7 mmHg; p<0.05). No distal embolisation was seen in 18 of the 25 patients, and a significant decrease in mean pulmonary arterial pressure was confirmed after thrombus fragmentation (before: 34.2 mmHg; after: 28.1 mmHg: p<0.01), and after thrombus aspiration (23.3 mmHg; p<0.01). In conclusion, distal embolisation and a rise in pulmonary arterial pressure can occur during mechanical fragmentation using a rotating pigtail catheter for the treatment of life-threatening acute massive pulmonary thromboembolism; thrombolysis and thrombus aspiration can provide partial recanalization and haemodynamic stabilization. Continuous monitoring of pulmonary arterial pressure may contribute to the safety of these interventional procedures.


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