Annals of Vascular Diseases
Online ISSN : 1881-6428
Print ISSN : 1881-641X
ISSN-L : 1881-641X
Topics and Treatment of Venous Thromboembolism
Surgical Embolectomy for Acute Pulmonary Thromboembolism
Ikuo Fukuda Kazuyuki Daitoku
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2017 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 107-114


Acute pulmonary thromboembolism is a catastrophic event, especially for hospitalized patients. The prognosis of pulmonary thromboembolism depends on the degree of pulmonary arterial occlusion. The mortality of massive pulmonary embolism is reportedly as high as 25% without cardiopulmonary arrest and 65% with cardiopulmonary arrest. In patients with unstable hemodynamics due to pulmonary thromboembolism, surgical pulmonary embolectomy is indicated for patients with a contraindication to thrombolysis, failed catheter therapy, or failed thrombolysis. Thrombolytic therapy adds an additional burden on patients who are at risk of potential hemorrhagic complications. It is also indicated if patients are already on a veno-arterial extra-corporate membrane oxygenator for circulatory collapse or cardiopulmonary arrest. The outcome for patients who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation for longer than 30 minutes is poor. Therefore, early triage for massive and sub-massive pulmonary embolism is crucial. A team approach including a cardiovascular surgeon may be effective to save critically ill patients. Prompt removal of emboli reduces the right ventricular load with quick recovery of cardiopulmonary function in the early postoperative period. A recent series reported excellent results, with in-hospital mortality of less than 10%. Surgical pulmonary embolectomy is an effective, safe, and easy procedure to save critical patients due to pulmonary thromboembolism.

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