Pharmacomechanical thrombectomy for treatment of symptomatic lower extremity deep venous thrombosis: safety and feasibility study

J Vasc Surg. 2004 Nov;40(5):965-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2004.08.025.


Purpose: The current standard of care for deep venous thromboembolism (DVT) is anticoagulation; however, this treatment method does not rapidly relieve clot burden or clinical symptoms. We describe a rapid and effective method of thrombus removal, with simultaneous percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy (PMT) and thrombolysis.

Methods: Over 26 months 20 patients (22 men, 2 women; mean age, 52 +/- 6 years [range, 38-79 years]) with extensive lower extremity DVT were treated with PMT with the AngioJet thrombectomy device in combination with lytic agent (urokinase, tissue plasminogen activator, or reteplase) added to the infusion. Three patients underwent treatment twice, because of recurrent DVT. The primary end point was angiographic evidence of restoration of venous patency at completion of the procedure. Complications, recurrent ipsilateral DVT, and improvement in clinical symptoms were evaluated.

Results: Complete thrombus removal was obtained in 15 procedures (65%), and partial resolution in the remaining 8 procedures (35%). Inciting occlusive lesions responsible for acute DVT were revealed in 14 patients (61%), and angioplasty with or without stenting was performed when necessary. In the 8 procedures with partial resolution additional catheter-directed thrombolysis was carried out on average for 5.7 hours, with further thrombus reduction. Overall, immediate (<24 hours) improvement in clinical symptoms was noted in 17 patients (74%). There were no complications related to either PMT or the short duration of lytic agent infusion. At average follow-up of 10.2 +/- 0.3 months (range, 3-26 months), 3 patients had recurrent ipsilateral DVT, and underwent repeat treatment.

Conclusions: Addition of lytic agent to PMT facilitates thrombus extraction, decreases overall interventional treatment time, and improves patient outcomes. In addition, definitive management of underlying anatomic lesions can be performed in the same setting. Further outcome measures are necessary to study the long-term efficacy of this treatment method on preservation of valve function, reduction of chronic venous insufficiency, and improved quality of life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phlebography
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Rate
  • Thrombectomy / methods*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Venous Thrombosis / drug therapy*
  • Venous Thrombosis / mortality
  • Venous Thrombosis / surgery*


  • Fibrinolytic Agents