A new study has found that using filters to prevent blood clots passing from veins in the legs to arteries of the lungs may not prevent the deaths of patients with pulmonary embolism though it has been found to save lives if patients are in shock or require a ventilator.
Furthermore, for unstable patients with a pulmonary embolism, it is crucial they receive clot-dissolving medications known as thrombolytic therapy.
The findings come from a set of three research articles on pulmonary embolism treatment published by Michigan State University's Paul Stein in the May edition of the American Journal of Medicine. The findings are based on a study of more than two million patients suffering from the sometimes deadly clots that travel to the lungs and block arteries.
Stein said the studies provide clearer guidance on what treatments are most effective for patients, specifically in regard to vena cava filters and thrombolytic therapy.
"There has been an increase in the use of vena cava filters in the past several years for patients who arrive at a hospital suffering from a pulmonary embolism," said Stein, a professor in osteopathic medical specialties and also director of research at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Mich.
"But it appears the vast majority of filters that are placed in patients with pulmonary embolism may not reduce mortality."