Bivalirudin and Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Treatment of Massive Pulmonary Embolism From Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia with Thrombosis

Published:November 04, 2022DOI:


      High-risk (massive) pulmonary embolism (PE) is a devastating medical condition with high mortality and morbidity. The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support in hemodynamically unstable PE has been reported to be safe. We present a cancer patient with heparin induced thrombocytopenia with thrombosis (HITT) who developed acute high-risk PE and hemodynamic instability despite systemic anticoagulation and thrombolysis. This case highlights two important points in treatment of high-risk PE: firstly, venoarterial ECMO (VA-ECMO) can still be an option after systemic thrombolytic therapy while on bivalirudin. Secondly, ultrasound can be used to assess for location of mixing point in VA-ECMO.
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