The Role of Thrombolytic Therapy for Patients with a Submassive Pulmonary Embolism.

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The Role of Thrombolytic Therapy for Patients with a Submassive Pulmonary Embolism.

Cureus. 2018 Jun 15;10(6):e2814

Authors: Murphy E, Lababidi A, Reddy R, Mendha T, Lebowitz D

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is an acute life-threatening respiratory event that results in upwards of 200,000 deaths per year in the United States. While anticoagulation is currently the standard of treatment for PEs, there is increasing evidence to suggest that in certain cases anticoagulation in combination with thrombolytic therapy may improve patient outcomes and reduce mortality. This article aims to compare the effects of combined intervention with thrombolytic therapy and anticoagulation to the effects of anticoagulation alone in patients with submassive PEs in terms of various outcome measures, including but not limited to: mortality, hemodynamic status, length of hospital stay, and safety. The methodology consisted of the critical appraisal of the primary literature articles pertaining to intervention with thrombolytic agents in cases of a submassive or intermediate risk PE, including a discussion of each study's strengths and limitations. Ultimately, this review found that the use of thrombolytic agents in conjunction with anticoagulants has been associated with decreased hemodynamic decompensation and decreased length of hospital stay, with no change in mortality outcomes, at a cost of increased rate of bleeding and stroke. The use of thrombolytic agents with anticoagulants may be warranted in a specific subset of patients, but clinicians should consider the potential benefits and harms of this intervention.

PMID: 30397555 [PubMed]

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