Inhaled nitric oxide in patients with pulmonary embolism

Intensive Care Med. 1997 Oct;23(10):1089-92. doi: 10.1007/s001340050461.


Objective: To describe the use of inhaled nitric oxide (NO) in four patients with severe pulmonary embolism.

Setting: The intensive care unit (ICU) of a university teaching hospital.

Patients: Four patients with severe pulmonary embolism on the basis of clinical, haemodynamic or blood-gas parameters received NO by inhalation either during spontaneous respiration (two cases) or while mechanically ventilated (two cases).

Interventions: Conventional management of pulmonary embolism in addition to the use of inhaled NO.

Measurements and results: Description of clinical course, haemodynamic and gas-exchange data. Dose-response data are also described for three patients.

Conclusions: We reported four cases of pulmonary embolism where the administration of inhaled NO resulted in an improvement in pulmonary haemodynamic and gas-exchange parameters. Two patients were weaned from NO and survived until discharged from the ICU. Inhaled NO might be a useful adjunct in pulmonary embolism to improve stability of the patient prior to thrombolysis or surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / administration & dosage*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / drug effects*
  • Respiration, Artificial


  • Nitric Oxide