Pulmonary embolism with endovascular thrombolysis for thrombosed hemodialysis arteriovenous access

Yogeshwar Singh Rajaram, Thong Le, Maree Ross-Smith, Andrew Owen, Jason Chuen, Peter F. Mount

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Aims: Acute thrombosis of hemodialysis (HD) arteriovenous access is an urgent problem for HD patients and is commonly managed by endovascular thrombolysis. Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a recognized complication of HD access thrombosis and thrombolysis but the risk and outcomes are unclear. This study aims to determine the incidence, predictors, and outcomes of PE after endovascular thrombolysis of HD arteriovenous access in patients presenting with acute thrombosis. Materials and methods: A single-center retrospective study was performed for all adult chronic kidney disease patients undergoing arteriovenous access thrombolysis between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2014. Investigation for PE with CT pulmonary angiography or ventilation/ perfusion scintigraphy (V/Q scan) was performed as clinically directed by the managing clinicians. In cases diagnosed with PE, the pulmonary embolism severity index (PESI) was calculated. Results: A total of 48 (median age 68) patients underwent 74 thrombolysis procedures. Thrombolysis techniques were divided into pharmacological (44.6%), mechanical (17.6%), or pharmacomechanical (37.8%). Clinical success was achieved in 56/74 (75.7%) of procedures. Five episodes of thrombolysis for access thrombosis (6.8%) were associated with clinically symptomatic PE. The PESI score ranged from 51 to 127. All patients with PE were managed with 3 - 6 months of anticoagulation and recovered clinically. There were no statistically significant differences in baseline characteristics, methods of thrombolysis, or clot burden in patients that developed a PE. Conclusion: There is a clinically significant risk of symptomatic PE after arteriovenous access thrombolysis for access thrombosis in HD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-147
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Nephrology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • Arteriovenous graft
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Hemodialysis
  • Pulmonary embolus
  • Thrombolysis

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