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When seconds count: Interventional radiology treatment for pulmonary embolism saves lives
Date:11/11/2009

FAIRFAX, Va.Catheter-directed therapy or catheter-directed thrombolysisan interventional radiology treatment that uses targeted image-guided drug delivery with specially designed catheters to dissolve dangerous blood clots in the lungssaves lives and should be considered a first-line treatment option for massive pulmonary embolism, note researchers in the November Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

"Modern catheter-directed therapy for acute pulmonary embolism saves lives, and we need to raise awareness about its safety and effectiveness not only among the general public but also within the medical community. It's a matter of life and death," said William Kuo, M.D., an interventional radiologist who is assistant professor and fellowship director of vascular and interventional radiology in the Department of Radiology at Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, Calif. "In our study, we conclude that modern catheter-directed therapy is a relatively safe and effective treatment for acute massive pulmonary embolism and should be considered as a first-line treatment option," he added.

Pulmonary embolism occurs when one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked from blood clots that break free and travel there. These clots most often begin as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots within the deep leg veins. When the clots break free, circulate and become trapped in the lungs, they can block the oxygen supply, cause heart failure and result in death. About 600,000 cases of acute pulmonary embolism are diagnosed each year in the United States, and an estimated 300,000 patients die, noted Kuo. "If initiated early, minimally invasive catheter-directed therapy could save many of those lives," added the lead author of the study, "Catheter-directed Therapy for the Treatment of Massive Pulmonary Embolism: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Modern Techniques."

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Contact: Maryann Verrillo
mverrillo@SIRweb.org
703-460-5572
Society of Interventional Radiology
Source:Eurekalert

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