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Stanford study recommends change in treating pulmonary embolisms
Date:10/27/2009

now able to flow into her lungs and the massive blood clots were much smaller.

"We just stood there," Kuo said, "and we were amazed that the treatment had saved her life. She walked out of the hospital nine days later."

But that was just the beginning for Kuo.

"That one case changed my views on the existing treatment algorithm for this deadly disease, and I suddenly realized the limited options available for life-threatening pulmonary embolism. At that moment three years ago, I recognized that this was a potentially life-saving procedure; but I also realized that few physicians were aware of it. The experience from that case really inspired me to begin my clinical research."

The labor-intensive study involved collaboration with other expert interventional colleagues, a pulmonologist adept at meta-analysis, statisticians, medical librarians and interpreters to initiate a global search of scientific literature. The researchers sifted through 18 years of data collecting information on cases involving the use of catheter-directed therapy for treating massive pulmonary embolism.

"I wanted to know if other interventional physicians had recorded this experience," Kuo said. "Were they getting the same results we were seeing at Stanford?"

Kuo's research team discovered 594 patients in 18 countries who had undergone this therapy between 1990 and 2008. After statistically analyzing the data, they found that not only was the treatment effective, but it also appeared much safer than injecting the high-dose thrombolytic drug systemically or directly into the bloodstream where it can circulate throughout the body and cause dangerous bleeding in up to 20 percent of patients. By targeting blood clots directly, the catheter-based procedure was associated with only a 2.4 percent chance of major complications, and the procedure was life-saving in 86.5 percent of the 594 patients dying from PE.

The catheter-based technique
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Contact: Tracie White
tracie.white@stanford.edu
650-723-7628
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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