Am J Cardiol. 2020 Jun 30:S0002-9149(20)30625-1. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2020.06.048. Online ahead of print.
Treatment of submassive (intermediate-risk) pulmonary embolism (PE), defined as hemodynamically stable with right ventricular (RV) dysfunction, showed lower in-hospital all-cause mortality with intravenous thrombolytic therapy than with anticoagulants, but at an increased risk of major bleeding. The present investigation was performed to test whether catheter-directed thrombolysis reduces mortality without increasing bleeding in submassive PE. This was a retrospective cohort study based on administrative data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. In 2016, 13,130 patients were hospitalized with PE and acute cor pulmonale, were stable, and treated with catheter-directed thrombolysis in 1,500 (11%) or anticoagulants alone in 11,630 (89%). Mortality was lower with catheter-directed thrombolysis than with anticoagulants in unmatched patients, 35 of 1,500 (2.3%) compared with 755 of 11,630 (6.5%; p <0.0001) and in matched patients, 30 of 1,260 (2.4%) compared with 440 of 6,910 (6.4%; p <0.0001). Time-dependent analysis showed catheter-directed thrombolysis reduced mortality if administered within the first 3 days. Patients with saddle PE treated with anticoagulants had lower mortality than non-saddle PE, 75 of 1,730 (4.3%) compared with 680 of 9,900 (6.9%; p < 0.0001) in unmatched patients and 45 of 1,305 (3.4%) compared with 395 of 5,605 (7.0%; p < 0.0001) in matched patients. Mortality was not lower with inferior vena cava filters either in those who received catheter-directed thrombolysis or those treated with anticoagulants. There were no fatal or nonfatal adverse events associated with catheter-directed thrombolysis. In conclusion, patients with submassive PE appear to have lower in-hospital all-cause mortality with catheter-directed thrombolysis administered within 3 days than with anticoagulants, and risks are low.