Comparison of the effects of streptokinase and heparin on the early rate of resolution of major pulmonary embolism.
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The extent of early resolution of major pulmonary embolism observed in 10 patients after 24 hours of treatment with heparin was compared with that seen in 17 patients after 24 hours of treatment with streptokinase. The patients in the streptokinase group also received a loading dose of heparin and were treated with heparin by continuous infusion when their thrombin time returned to normal levels. All had pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary embolism was classified as acute in the 10 patients in the heparin group. Seven of these patients showed no angiographic change, two showed slight improvement and one showed angiographic deterioration. There was a moderate and statistically insignificant fall in mean pulmonary arterial pressure and total pulmonary resistance. Fourteen of the 17 patients who were studied before and after streptokinase were classified as acute and three as subacute progressive major pulmonary embolism. Eight showed marked angiographic improvement, four moderate and two slight angiographic improvement. There was a moderate and statistically significant fall in the mean pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance. In addition, all seven patients in whom no angiographic improvement occurred during heparin therapy showed moderate or marked angiographic improvement after a further 24 hours of treatment with streptokinase. The results strongly suggest that streptokinase therapy accelerates thrombolysis in patients with acute major pulmonary embolism.
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