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Radiology. 1999 Apr;211(1):39-49.

Catheter-directed thrombolysis for lower extremity deep venous thrombosis: report of a national multicenter registry.

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Department of Radiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Milwaukee, USA.

Erratum in

  • Radiology 1999 Dec;213(3):930.



To evaluate catheter-directed thrombolysis for treatment of symptomatic lower extremity deep venous thrombosis (DVT).


From a registry of patients (n = 473) with symptomatic lower limb DVT, results of 312 urokinase infusions in 303 limbs of 287 patients (137 male and 150 female patients; mean age, 47.5 years) were analyzed. DVT symptoms were acute (< or = 10 days) in 188 (66%) patients, chronic (> 10 days) in 45 (16%), and acute and chronic in 54 (19%). A history of DVT existed in 90 (31%). Lysis grades were calculated by using venographic results.


Iliofemoral DVT (n = 221 [71%]) and femoral-popliteal DVT (n = 79 [25%]) were treated with urokinase infusions (mean, 7.8 million i.u.) for a mean of 53.4 hours. After thrombolysis, 99 iliac and five femoral vein lesions were treated with stents. Grade III (complete) lysis was achieved in 96 (31%) infusions; grade II (50%-99% lysis), in 162 (52%); and grade I (< 50% lysis), in 54 (17%). For acute thrombosis, grade III lysis occurred in 34% of cases of acute and in 19% of cases of chronic DVT (P < .01). Major bleeding complications occurred in 54 (11%) patients, most often at the puncture site. Six patients (1%) developed pulmonary emboli. Two deaths (< 1%) were attributed to pulmonary embolism and intracranial hemorrhage. At 1 year, the primary patency rate was 60%. Lysis grade was predictive of 1-year patency rate (grade III, 79%; grade II, 58%; grade I, 32%; P < .001).


Catheter-directed thrombolysis is safe and effective. These data can guide patient selection for this therapeutic technique.

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