Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy, complications, and costs associated with low-dose (<2 mg/h) alteplase (tissue plasminogen activator [t-PA]) versus urokinase for the catheter-directed treatment of acute peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAO) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Materials and methods: A retrospective review was performed during sequential time periods on two groups with involved extremities treated with either t-PA with subtherapeutic heparin (TPA group) or urokinase with full heparin (UK group) at a single center. Treatment group characteristics, success rates, complications, dosages, infusion time, and costs were compared.
Results: Eighty-nine patients with 93 involved limbs underwent treatment (54 with DVT, 39 with PAO). The treatment groups were statistically identical (TPA: 45 limbs; 24 with DVT, 53.3%; 21 with PAO, 46.7%; UK: 48 limbs; 30 with DVT, 62.5%; 18 with PAO, 37.5%). The overall average hourly infused dose, total dose, infusion time, success rates, and cost of thrombolytic agent were as follows (+/- standard deviation): TPA, 0.86 +/- 0.50 mg/h, 21.2 +/- 15.1 mg, 24.6 +/- 11.2 hours, 89.4%, $466 +/- $331; and UK, 13.5 +/- 5.6 (10(4)) U/h, 4.485 +/- 2.394 million U, 33.3 +/- 13.3 hours, 85.7%, $6871 +/- $3667, respectively. Major and minor complication rates were: TPA, 2.2% and 8.9%; and UK, 2.1% and 10.4%, respectively. No statistical differences in success rates or complications were observed; however, t-PA was significantly (P <.05) less expensive and faster than urokinase.
Conclusion: Low-dose t-PA combined with subtherapeutic heparin is equally efficacious and safe compared with urokinase. Infusions with t-PA were significantly shorter and less expensive than those with urokinase.