Abstract [from journal]
Catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) and systemic thrombolysis (ST) are used to treat intermediate/high-risk pulmonary embolism (PE) in the absence of comparative safety and effectiveness data. We utilized a large administrative database to perform a comparative safety and effectiveness analysis of catheter-directed versus systemic thrombolysis. From the Optum® Clinformatics® Data Mart private-payer insurance claims database, we identified 100,744 patients hospitalized with PE between 2004 and 2014. We extracted demographic characteristics, high-risk PE features, components of the Elixhauser Comorbidity Index, and outcomes including intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), all-cause bleeding, and mortality among all patients receiving CDT and ST. We used propensity score methods to compare outcomes between matched cohorts adjusted for observed confounders. A total of 1915 patients (1.9%) received either CDT (n = 632) or ST (n = 1283). Patients in the CDT group had fewer high-risk features including less shock (5.4 vs 11.1%; p < 0.001) and cardiac arrest (6.8 vs 11.0%; p = 0.004). In 1:1 propensity-matched groups, ICH rates were 1.9% in both the CDT and ST groups (p = 1.0). All-cause bleeding was higher in the CDT group (15.9 vs 8.7%; p < 0.001), while in-hospital mortality was lower (6.5 vs 10.0%; p = 0.02). Among a nationally representative cohort of patients with PE at higher risk for mortality, CDT was associated with similar ICH rates, increased all-cause bleeding, and lower short and intermediate-term mortality when compared with ST. The competing risks and benefits of CDT in real-world practice suggest the need for large-scale randomized clinical trials with appropriate comparator arms.