Comparative Outcomes of Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis Plus Systemic Anticoagulation Versus Systemic Anticoagulation Alone in the Management of Intermediate-Risk Pulmonary Embolism in a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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The American journal of cardiology


There are limited and conflicting data on the initial management of intermediate-risk (or submassive) pulmonary embolism (PE). This study sought to compare the outcomes of catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) in combination with systemic anticoagulation (SA) to SA alone. A systematic search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, and the Cochrane databases from inception to March 1, 2023 for studies comparing the outcomes of CDT + SA versus SA alone in intermediate-risk PE. The outcomes were in-hospital, 30-day, 90-day, and 1-year mortality; bleeding; blood transfusion; right ventricular recovery; and length of stay. Random-effects models was used to calculate the pooled incidence and risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A total of 15 (2 randomized and 13 observational) studies with 10,549 (2,310 CDT + SA and 8,239 SA alone) patients were included. Compared with SA, CDT + SA was associated with significantly lower in-hospital mortality (RR 0.41, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.56, p <0.001), 30-day mortality (RR 0.34, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.67, p = 0.002), 90-day mortality (RR 0.34, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.67, p = 0.002), and 1-year mortality (RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.97, p = 0.04). There were no significant differences between the 2 cohorts in the rates of major bleeding (RR 1.39, 95% CI 0.72 to 2.68, p = 0.56), minor bleeding (RR 1.83, 95% CI 0.97 to 3.46, p = 0.06), and blood transfusion (RR 0.34, 95% CI 0.10 to 1.15, p = 0.08). In conclusion, CDT + SA is associated with significantly lower short-term and long-term all-cause mortality, without any differences in major/minor bleeding, in patients with intermediate-risk PE.

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