Catheter-directed therapies for pulmonary embolism: considerations for patients with patent foramen ovale

Arun Chockalingam, Nariman Nezami, Nikitha Murali, Hamid Mojibian, Jeffrey S. Pollak, Clifford R. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pulmonary embolism can be fatal, especially in high-risk patients who have contraindications to systemic thrombolysis or surgical embolectomy. For this population, interventionalists can provide catheter-directed therapies, including catheter-directed thrombolysis and thrombectomy, using a wide array of devices. Endovascular treatment of pulmonary embolism shows great promise through fractionated thrombolytic drug delivery, fragmentation, and aspiration mechanisms with thrombectomy devices. Although successful outcomes have been reported after using these treatments, evidence is especially limited in patients with both a patent foramen ovale (PFO) and acute pulmonary embolism. In patients with PFO, it is important to consider whether catheter-directed therapy is appropriate or whether surgical embolectomy should instead be performed. An increased risk of paradoxical embolus in these patients supports the use of diagnostic echocardiography with possible surgical closure of PFO after one episode of pulmonary embolism. Percutaneous PFO closure, which can be performed at the time of catheter-based therapy, theoretically reduces risk of future paradoxical embolization, although more data are needed before making a recommendation for this specific group of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-521
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Patent foramen ovale
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Thrombectomy
  • Thrombolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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