Surgery for pulmonary embolism can improve survival rates

11 February 2015

A new study, published in the Texas Heart Institute Journal, has found that a surgical procedure that is largely not done anymore, could help a certain group of patients.

Analysis from North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System focused on pulmonary embolectomy, which has often not been the preferred action because of an associated high death rate. According to data from between 1961 and 1984, nearly a third (32 per cent) of all patients undergoing the procedure died. 

However, using safer techniques has led to much improved survival rates and the new analysis suggests that severely ill patients may benefit from the procedure rather than drug therapies alone.

The research team identified 96 patients between 2003 and 2011 who underwent a pulmonary embolectomy, they then compared these survival rates to the historical mortality data from patients who did not undergo surgery.

Dr Alan Hartman, chair of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at North Shore-LIJ, and his team found the mortality rate was just 4.2 per cent. This is lower than any other published records. In addition, nearly three-quarters (73.9 per cent) were discharged home or to rehabilitation facilities. 

Posted by Philip Briggs

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