Outcomes of Catheter-Directed Therapy Plus Anticoagulation Versus Anticoagulation Alone for Submassive and Massive Pulmonary Embolism

Charles T Hennemeyer, Abdul Khan, Hugh McGregor, Cheyenne Moffett, Gregory Woodhead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Catheter-directed therapy (CDT) offers an alternative treatment to systemic thrombolysis for patients with massive and submassive pulmonary embolism. Methods: A retrospective review of 105 consecutive massive and submassive pulmonary embolisms over 2 years was performed. Thirty-six patients (9 massive, 27 submassive) were treated with CDT, consisting of aspiration thrombectomy (18), ultrasound-assisted thrombolysis (8), or both (10). Forty-three patients (8 massive, 35 submassive) were treated with heparin anticoagulation alone. Primary outcome was improvement of RV/LV ratio 24-48 hours after treatment. Safety outcomes included 90-day mortality, bleeding complications, and hospital readmissions. Subgroup analysis based on severity of RV dilation was performed. Results: Mean RV/LV ratio decreased from 1.91±0.61 to 1.28±0.45 (P <.001) in the CDT group and from 1.40 ± 0.37 to 1.25 ± 0.32 (P =.01) in the anticoagulation group. In submassive pulmonary embolisms with mild and moderate RV dilation (RV/LV ratio 0.9-1.9), RV/LV ratio was significantly lower in the CDT group at 24-48 hours (1.05 ± 0.38 vs 1.20 ± 0.31, P <.001). In submassive pulmonary embolisms with severe RV dilation (RV/LV ratio >1.9), no difference was noted between the 2 treatment groups. Ninety-day mortality (11% and 14%, p = 0.7) and incidence of major bleeding complications did not significantly differ between the 2 groups. Thirty-day readmission rates were 8% in the CDT group and 26% in the anticoagulation group (P =.04). Conclusion: CDT for acute massive and submassive pulmonary embolism significantly improves RV/LV ratio at 24-48 hours compared with anticoagulation alone and may lower hospital readmission rates. CDT may be more advantageous in patients with mild to moderate RV dilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-246
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Pulmonary embolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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