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World Journal of Emergency Medicine ›› 2015, Vol. 6 ›› Issue (2): 153-156.doi: 10.5847/wjem.j.1920-8642.2015.02.012

• Case Report • Previous Articles    

Thrombolysis during extended cardiopulmonary resuscitation for autoimmune-related pulmonary embolism

Jian-ping Gao1, Ke-jing Ying2()   

  1. 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310016, China
    2 Department of Respiratory and Critical Care, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310016, China
  • Received:2014-07-08 Accepted:2015-01-29 Online:2015-06-15 Published:2015-06-15
  • Contact: Ke-jing Ying


BACKGROUND: Massive pulmonary embolism (MPE) and acute myocardial infarction are the two most common causes of cardiac arrest (CA). At present, lethal hemorrhage makes thrombolytic therapy underused during cardiopulmonary resuscitation, despite the potential benefits for these underlying conditions. Hypercoagulability of the blood in autoimmune disorders (such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia) carries a risk of MPE. It is critical to find out the etiology of CA for timely thrombolytic intervention.
METHODS: A 23-year-old woman with a 10-year medical history of autoimmune hemolytic anemia suffered from CA in our emergency intensive care unit. ECG and echocardiogram indicated the possibility of MPE, so fibrinolytic therapy (alteplase) was successful during prolonged resuscitation.
RESULTS: Neurological recovery of the patient was generally good, and no fatal bleeding developed. MPE was documented by CT pulmonary angiography.
CONCLUSIONS: A medical history of autoimmune disease poses a risk of PE, and the causes of CA (such as this) should be investigated etiologically. A therapy with alteplase may be used early during cardiopulmonary resuscitation once there is presumptive evidence of PE. Clinical trials are needed in this setting to study patients with hypercoagulable states.

Key words: Pulmonary embolism, Thrombolysis, Cardiac arrest, Autoimmune disease