Mechanical thrombectomy of major and massive pulmonary embolism with use of the Amplatz thrombectomy device

Invest Radiol. 2001 Jun;36(6):317-22. doi: 10.1097/00004424-200106000-00003.


Rationale and objectives: To evaluate the feasibility of mechanical thrombectomy with the Amplatz thrombectomy device (ATD) in restoring patency of acutely thrombosed pulmonary arteries resulting from pulmonary embolism for the improvement of patient outcome.

Methods: Mechanical thrombectomy with the ATD (8F) was performed in nine consecutive patients with angiographically documented thrombus in the left or right pulmonary artery resulting from deep vein thrombosis (n = 4) or unknown cause (n = 5).

Results: The Miller index decreased from 18 to 11. In all patients, the majority of the thrombus in the pulmonary artery was cleared after a mean activation time of the ATD of 367 seconds. Thrombectomy was performed with the ATD alone (n = 4) or with additional long-term fibrinolysis therapy (n = 5) with infusion of recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator. Pulmonary arterial pressure decreased from a mean of 57 mm Hg before mechanical thrombectomy to 55 mm Hg directly after the procedure and to 39 mm Hg after termination of the recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator infusion.

Conclusions: Mechanical thrombectomy with the ATD in patients with minor and major pulmonary embolism is technically feasible and safe. It is a potential alternative to drug-mediated thrombolysis and surgery. However, the incremental benefit of the ATD over conventional treatments could be shown only in a randomized controlled study.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy*
  • Thrombectomy / instrumentation*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed