Thrombolysis

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Thrombolysis
Angiograph before and after thrombolytic therapy in a case of thrombosis on the hand.png
Angiograph before and after thrombolytic therapy in a case of acute limb ischemia.
Other namesFibrinolytic therapy
MedlinePlus 007089
eMedicine 811234

Thrombolysis, also called fibrinolytic therapy, is the breakdown (lysis) of blood clots formed in blood vessels, using medication. It is used in ST elevation myocardial infarction, stroke, and in cases of severe venous thromboembolism (massive pulmonary embolism or extensive deep vein thrombosis).[ citation needed ]

Contents

The main complication is bleeding (which can be dangerous), and in some situations thrombolysis may therefore be unsuitable. Thrombolysis can also play an important part in reperfusion therapy that deals specifically with blocked arteries.

Medical uses

Diseases where thrombolysis is used:

Thrombolysis is usually intravenous. It may also be used directly into the affected blood vessel during an angiogram (intra-arterial thrombolysis), e.g. when patients present with stroke beyond three hours or in severe deep vein thrombosis (catheter-directed thrombolysis). [9]

Thrombolysis is performed by many types of medical specialists, including interventional radiologists, vascular surgeons, cardiologists, interventional neuroradiologists, and neurosurgeons. In some countries such as the United States of America, emergency medical technicians may administer thrombolytics for heart attacks in prehospital settings, by on-line medical direction. In countries with more extensive and independent qualifications, prehospital thrombolysis (fibrinolysis) may be initiated by the emergency care practitioner (ECP). Other countries which employ ECP's include, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Prehospital thrombolysis is always the result of a risk-benefit calculation of the heart attack, thrombolysis risks, and primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI) availability.[ citation needed ]

Contraindications

Thrombolysis is not without risks. Therefore, clinicians must select patients who are to be best suited for the procedure, and those who have the least risk of having a fatal complication. An absolute contraindication is in itself enough to avoid thrombolysis, while a relative contraindication needs to be considered in relation to the overall clinical situation.[ citation needed ]

Myocardial infarction

Absolute contraindications: [10]

Relative contraindications: [10]

Stroke

Absolute contraindications: [11]

Relative contraindications: [12]

Side-effects

Hemorrhagic stroke is a rare but serious complication of thrombolytic therapy. If a patient has had thrombolysis before, an allergy against the thrombolytic drug may have developed (especially after streptokinase). If the symptoms are mild, the infusion is stopped and the patient is commenced on an antihistamine before infusion is recommenced. Anaphylaxis generally requires immediate cessation of thrombolysis.[ citation needed ]

Agents

Thrombolysis therapy uses thrombolytic drugs that dissolve blood clots. Most of these drugs target fibrin (one of the main constituent of blood clots) and are therefore called fibrinolytics. All currently approved thrombolytic drugs are biologics, either derived from Streptococcus species, or, more recently, using recombinant biotechnology whereby tPA is manufactured using cell culture, resulting in a recombinant tissue plasminogen activator or rtPA.[ citation needed ]

Some fibrinolytics are:

Research

In people who receive thrombolytic therapy delivered through a catheter, there is a risk of hemorrhage as a side effect. Scientists have studied whether measuring fibrinogen in blood can be used as a biomarker to predict hemorrhage. As of 2017 it was not known if this works or not. [16]

See also

Related Research Articles

Thrombosis Vascular disease caused by the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel, obstructing the flow of blood through the circulatory system. When a blood vessel is injured, the body uses platelets (thrombocytes) and fibrin to form a blood clot to prevent blood loss. Even when a blood vessel is not injured, blood clots may form in the body under certain conditions. A clot, or a piece of the clot, that breaks free and begins to travel around the body is known as an embolus.

Thrombus Blood clot

A thrombus, colloquially called a blood clot, is the final product of the blood coagulation step in hemostasis. There are two components to a thrombus: aggregated platelets and red blood cells that form a plug, and a mesh of cross-linked fibrin protein. The substance making up a thrombus is sometimes called cruor. A thrombus is a healthy response to injury intended to stop and prevent further bleeding, but can be harmful in thrombosis, when a clot obstructs blood flow through healthy blood vessels in the circulatory system.

Fibrinolysis is a process that prevents blood clots from growing and becoming problematic. Primary fibrinolysis is a normal body process, while secondary fibrinolysis is the breakdown of clots due to a medicine, a medical disorder, or some other cause.

Ischemia Restriction in blood supply to tissues

Ischemia or ischaemia is a restriction in blood supply to any tissues, muscle group, or organ of the body, causing a shortage of oxygen that is needed for cellular metabolism. Ischemia is generally caused by problems with blood vessels, with resultant damage to or dysfunction of tissue i.e. hypoxia and microvascular dysfunction. It also means local hypoxia in a given part of a body sometimes resulting from constriction. Ischemia comprises not only insufficiency of oxygen, but also reduced availability of nutrients and inadequate removal of metabolic wastes. Ischemia can be partial or total blockage. The inadequate delivery of oxygenated blood to the organs must be resolved either by treating the cause of the inadequate delivery or reducing the oxygen demand of the system that needs it. For example, patients with myocardial ischemia have a decreased blood flow to the heart and are prescribed with medications that reduce chronotrophy and ionotrophy to meet the new level of blood delivery supplied by the stenosed so that it is adequate.

Tissue plasminogen activator Protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots

Tissue plasminogen activator is a protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots. It is a serine protease found on endothelial cells, the cells that line the blood vessels. As an enzyme, it catalyzes the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin, the major enzyme responsible for clot breakdown. Human tPA has a molecular weight of ~70 kDa in the single-chain form.

Stroke Death of a region of brain cells due to poor blood flow

A stroke is a medical condition in which poor blood flow to the brain causes cell death. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic, due to bleeding. Both cause parts of the brain to stop functioning properly. Signs and symptoms of a stroke may include an inability to move or feel on one side of the body, problems understanding or speaking, dizziness, or loss of vision to one side. Signs and symptoms often appear soon after the stroke has occurred. If symptoms last less than one or two hours, the stroke is a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a mini-stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke may also be associated with a severe headache. The symptoms of a stroke can be permanent. Long-term complications may include pneumonia and loss of bladder control.

Streptokinase

Streptokinase (SK) is a thrombolytic medication and enzyme. As a medication it is used to break down clots in some cases of myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, and arterial thromboembolism. The type of heart attack it is used in is an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). It is given by injection into a vein.

Alteplase

Alteplase (t-PA) is a thrombolytic medication, used to treat acute ischemic stroke, acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism associated with low blood pressure, and blocked central venous catheter. It is given by injection into a vein or artery. Alteplase is the same as the normal human plasminogen activator produced in vascular endothelial cells and is synthesized via recombinant DNA technology in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO). Alteplase causes the breakdown of a clot by inducing fibrinolysis.

Cerebral infarction Medical condition

A cerebral infarction is the pathologic process that results in an area of necrotic tissue in the brain. It is caused by disrupted blood supply (ischemia) and restricted oxygen supply (hypoxia), most commonly due to thromboembolism, and manifests clinically as ischemic stroke. In response to ischemia, the brain degenerates by the process of liquefactive necrosis.

An embolus, is described as a free-floating mass, located inside blood vessels that can travel from one site in the blood stream to another. An embolus can be made up of solid, liquid, or gas. Once these masses get "stuck" in a different blood vessel, it is then known as an "embolism." An embolism can cause ischemia - or damage to an organ from lack of oxygen. A paradoxical embolism is a specific type of embolism in which the emboli travels from the right side of the heart or "venous circulation," travels to the left side of the heart or "arterial circulation," and lodges itself in a blood vessel known as an artery. Thus, it is termed "paradoxical" because the emboli lands in an artery, rather than a vein.

Ancrod is a defibrinogenating agent derived from the venom of the Malayan pit viper. Defibrinogenating blood produces an anticoagulant effect. Ancrod is not approved or marketed in any country. It is a thrombin-like serine protease.

Désiré Collen Belgian chemist, physician

Désiré, Baron Collen is a Belgian physician, chemist, biotechnology entrepreneur and life science investor. He made several discoveries in thrombosis, haemostasis and vascular biology in many of which serendipity played a significant role. His main achievement has been his role in the development of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) from a laboratory concept to a life-saving drug for dissolving blood clots causing acute myocardial infarction or acute ischemic stroke. Recombinant t-PA was produced and marketed by Genentech Inc as Activase and by Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH as Actilyse, and is considered biotechnology's first life saving drug.

The Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction, or TIMI Study Group, is an Academic Research Organization (ARO) affiliated with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School dedicated to advancing the knowledge and care of patients with cardiovascular disease. The TIMI Study Group provides robust expertise in the key aspects of a clinical trial, including academic leadership, global trial management, biostatistics, clinical event adjudication, safety desk, medical hotline, and core laboratories. The group has its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.

Embolectomy is the emergency surgical removal of emboli which are blocking blood circulation. It usually involves removal of thrombi, and is then referred to as thrombectomy. Embolectomy is an emergency procedure often as the last resort because permanent occlusion of a significant blood flow to an organ leads to necrosis. Other involved therapeutic options are anticoagulation and thrombolysis.

Acute limb ischaemia Occurs when there is a sudden lack of blood flow to a limb

Acute limb ischaemia (ALI) occurs when there is a sudden lack of blood flow to a limb.

Reperfusion therapy

Reperfusion therapy is a medical treatment to restore blood flow, either through or around, blocked arteries, typically after a heart attack. Reperfusion therapy includes drugs and surgery. The drugs are thrombolytics and fibrinolytics used in a process called thrombolysis. Surgeries performed may be minimally-invasive endovascular procedures such as a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), which involves coronary angioplasty. The angioplasty uses the insertion of a balloon to open up the artery, with the possible additional use of one or more stents. Other surgeries performed are the more invasive bypass surgeries that graft arteries around blockages.

Arterial embolism Interruption of blood flow to an organ

Arterial embolism is a sudden interruption of blood flow to an organ or body part due to an embolus adhering to the wall of an artery blocking the flow of blood, the major type of embolus being a blood clot (thromboembolism). Sometimes, pulmonary embolism is classified as arterial embolism as well, in the sense that the clot follows the pulmonary artery carrying deoxygenated blood away from the heart. However, pulmonary embolism is generally classified as a form of venous embolism, because the embolus forms in veins. Arterial embolism is the major cause of infarction.

Management of acute coronary syndrome

Management of acute coronary syndrome is targeted against the effects of reduced blood flow to the affected area of the heart muscle, usually because of a blood clot in one of the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the myocardium. This is achieved with urgent hospitalization and medical therapy, including drugs that relieve chest pain and reduce the size of the infarct, and drugs that inhibit clot formation; for a subset of patients invasive measures are also employed. Basic principles of management are the same for all types of acute coronary syndrome. However, some important aspects of treatment depend on the presence or absence of elevation of the ST segment on the electrocardiogram, which classifies cases upon presentation to either ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) or non-ST elevation acute coronary syndrome (NST-ACS); the latter includes unstable angina and non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI). Treatment is generally more aggressive for STEMI patients, and reperfusion therapy is more often reserved for them. Long-term therapy is necessary for prevention of recurrent events and complications.

Blood clots are a relatively common occurrence in the general population and are seen in approximately 1-2% of the population by age 60. Typically blood clots develop in the deep veins of the lower extremities, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or as a blood clot in the lung, pulmonary embolism (PE). A very small number of people who develop blood clots have a more serious and often life-threatening condition, known as Thrombotic Storm (TS). TS is characterized by the development of more than one blood clot in a short period of time. These clots often occur in multiple and sometimes unusual locations in the body and are often difficult to treat. TS may be associated with an existing condition or situation that predisposes a person to blood clots such as injury, infection, or pregnancy. In many cases a risk assessment will identify interventions that will prevent the formation of blood clots.

References

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