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Vasc Endovascular Surg. 2016 Aug;50(6):405-10. doi: 10.1177/1538574416666228.

Comparative Outcomes of Ultrasound-Assisted Thrombolysis and Standard Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis in the Treatment of Acute Pulmonary Embolism.

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Division of Vascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Division of Vascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



The objective of this study was to compare the outcomes of patients undergoing ultrasound-accelerated thrombolysis (USAT) and standard catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) for the treatment of acute pulmonary embolism (PE).


The records of all patients in our institution having undergone CDT or USAT for massive or submassive PE from 2009 to 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Standard statistical methods were used to compare characteristics and to assess for longitudinal change in outcomes.


Sixty-three patients, 27 CDT and 36 USAT, were treated for massive (12.7%) or submassive (87.3%) PE. Of which, 96.8% were treated for bilateral PE. Baseline patient characteristics did not differ between the 2 treatment groups. There was no difference in total dose of lytic administered (CDT: 23.2 ± 13.7 mg; USAT: 27.5 ± 12.9 mg; P = .2). Two patients in the CDT and 1 in the USAT groups required conversion to surgical thrombectomy (CDT: 7.4%; USAT: 2.8%; P = .6). Rates of major and minor bleeding complications (CDT: 11.0%; USAT: 13.9%; P = .8) did not differ significantly between the CDT and USAT groups. Estimated survival at 90 days was 92% for CDT and 93% for USAT and 82% at 1 year for both groups (P = .8). All echocardiographic parameters improved significantly from baseline to 1-year follow-up, but quantitative improvement did not differ between groups.


This study suggests no statistical differences in clinical and hemodynamic outcomes or procedural complication rates between USAT and standard CDT for the treatment of acute PE. Prospective studies are needed to further evaluate comparative and cost-effectiveness of different interventions for acute massive and submassive PE.


catheter-directed thrombolysis; deep venous thrombosis; pulmonary embolism; ultrasound-assisted thrombolysis; venous disease

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