Thrombolytic therapy for venous thromboembolism: current clinical practice.
BACKGROUND: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a life-threatening condition for which thrombolytic therapy may be beneficial. The appropriate setting for the use of thrombolytic therapy remains controversial. More than 10 years ago we described the case-based practice patterns for the use of thrombolytics in VTE, and now, in the context of recent studies and guidelines, we sought to reevaluate the use of thrombolytics and to determine whether beliefs have changed. METHODS: Active pulmonologists in 11 southeastern states were selected to complete a web-based questionnaire that included background questions and hypothetical case scenarios involving VTE and potential treatment with thrombolytics. RESULTS: Eighty-one physicians completed the survey and 84% reported using thrombolytic therapy for VTE within the last 2 years. In the absence of absolute contraindications, 99% of respondents would strongly consider using systemic thrombolytic therapy for massive pulmonary embolism (PE) with hypotension, 83% would strongly consider thrombolysis for a large PE with severe hypoxemia, and 62% would strongly consider thrombolysis for PE with echocardiographic evidence of right ventricular dysfunction. In a patient with massive PE and hypotension with certain contraindications, 91% of respondents would still strongly consider thrombolysis. CONCLUSIONS: Most practicing pulmonologists would strongly consider administering thrombolytic therapy for massive PE with hypotension or hypoxemia, and a majority favor thrombolysis for PE in the setting of echocardiographic evidence of right heart dysfunction. Despite the evolving data and guidelines for the management of VTE, our findings are similar to prior survey results, emphasizing the need for further physician education and future randomized trials to clarify the therapy for this potentially deadly condition.
Stashenko, GJ; Hargett, CW; Tapson, VF
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