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ABSTRACT: Pulmonary embolism is a disorder that is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Right-sided heart failure and recurrent pulmonary embolism are the main causes of death associated with pulmonary embolism in the first two weeks after the embolic event. Thrombolysis is a potentially lifesaving therapy when used in conjunction with standard anticoagulation. However, it has significant side effects and must therefore be used with caution. Indications for thrombolysis are not well defined and are thus controversial. The only current absolute indication is massive pulmonary embolism with hypotension. Other potential indications include right heart dysfunction, recurrent pulmonary embolism and the prevention of pulmonary hypertension. However, no evidence exists to show benefit of thrombolytic therapy over standard anticoagulation therapy for recurrent pulmonary embolism, mortality or chronic complications. Bleeding is the most common complication of thrombolysis and may be fatal.
ABSTRACT: The Seventh American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) Conference on Antithrombotic and Thrombolytic Therapy provides guidelines for outpatient management of anticoagulation therapy. The ACCP guidelines recommend short-term warfarin therapy, with the goal of maintaining an International Normalized Ratio (INR) of 2.5 +/- 0.5, after major orthopedic surgery. Therapy for venous thromboembolism includes an INR of 2.5 +/- 0.5, with the length of therapy determined by associated conditions. For patients with atrial fibrillation, the INR is maintained at 2.5 +/- 0.5 indefinitely; for most patients with mechanical valves, the recommended INR is 3.0 +/- 0.5 indefinitely. Use of outpatient low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) is as safe and effective as inpatient unfractionated heparin for treatment of venous thromboembolism. The ACCP recommends starting warfarin with unfractionated heparin or LMWH for at least five days and continuing until a therapeutic INR is achieved. Because patients with venous thromboembolism and cancer who have been treated with LMWH have a survival advantage that extends beyond their venous thromboembolism treatment, the ACCP recommends beginning their therapy with three to six months of LMWH. When invasive procedures require the interruption of oral anticoagulation therapy, recommendations for bridge therapy are determined by balancing the risk of bleeding against the risk of thromboembolism. Patients at higher risk of thromboembolization should stop warfarin therapy four to five days before surgery and start LMWH or unfractionated heparin two to three days before surgery.
Venous Thromboembolism During Pregnancy - Article
ABSTRACT: Venous thromboembolism is the leading cause of maternal death in the United States. Pregnancy is a risk factor for deep venous thrombosis, and risk is further increased with a personal or family history of thrombosis or thrombophilia. Screening for thrombophilia is not recommended for the general population; however, testing for inherited or acquired thrombophilic conditions is recommended when personal or family history suggests increased risk. Factor V Leiden and prothrombin G20210A mutation are the most common inherited thrombophilias, and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome is the most important acquired defect. Clinical symptoms of deep venous thrombosis may be subtle and difficult to distinguish from gestational edema. Venous compression (Doppler) ultrasonography is the diagnostic test of choice. Pulmonary embolism typically presents postpartum with dyspnea and tachypnea. Multidetector-row (spiral) computed tomography is the test of choice for pulmonary embolism. Warfarin is contraindicated during pregnancy, but is safe to use postpartum and is compatible with breastfeeding. Low-molecular-weight heparin has largely replaced unfractionated heparin for prophylaxis and treatment in pregnancy.
The Role of Chest CT in Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism - AFP Journal Club
When Medical Errors Hit Home - Balancing Act
Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism - Improving Patient Care
Painful Plaques Shortly After Hospital Discharge - Photo Quiz
New Guidelines on DVT and Pulmonary Embolism - Editorials
ACOG Practice Bulletin on Preventing Deep Venous Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism - Practice Guidelines
Thromboembolism - Clinical Evidence Handbook