Background: Medical therapy for chronic pulmonary thromboembolism is limited, and surgical treatment has become more frequent recently. We have performed pulmonary thromboendarterectomy on 8 patients with chronic pulmonary thromboembolism accompanied by thrombophilia.
Methods: The patients were 6 men and 2 women aged 21 to 56 years (mean, 35 years). Five patients had antiphospholipid syndrome, 2 had protein C deficiency, and 1 had congenital antithrombin III deficiency. The preoperative condition was New York Heart Association functional class III in 5 and class IV in 3. Hypoxemia, marked pulmonary hypertension (mean pulmonary artery pressure, 47+/-6.7 mm Hg), and low cardiac output were observed in all patients. After a median sternotomy, deep hypothermia was induced using a cardiopulmonary bypass, and pulmonary thromboendarterectomy in the bilateral pulmonary arteries was performed under intermittent circulatory arrest.
Results: There were no operative deaths. Long-term respiratory management was needed postoperatively by 3 patients. In the remaining 5 patients, no reperfusion injury was observed. The arterial blood oxygen concentration improved, and the mean pulmonary pressure decreased to 16+/-5.5 mm Hg. The cardiac output also increased, and New York Heart Association functional class improved to I in 4 and II in 4 patients.
Conclusion: Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy under deep hypothermic intermittent circulatory arrest was effective for chronic pulmonary thromboembolism accompanied by thrombophilia for which medical treatment is of limited value.