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Open Access Research article

No effect of epoprostenol on right ventricular diameter in patients with acute pulmonary embolism: a randomized controlled trial

Albertus J Kooter1*, Richard G IJzerman1, Otto Kamp2, Anco B Boonstra3 and Yvo M Smulders1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2 Department of Cardiology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

3 Department of Pulmonology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2010, 10:18  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-10-18

Published: 30 March 2010

Abstract

Background

Right ventricular dilatation in the setting of acute pulmonary embolism is associated with an adverse prognosis. Treatment with a pulmonary vasodilator has never been studied systematically. We evaluated the effect of epoprostenol on right ventricular diameter and function in patients with acute pulmonary embolism and right ventricular dilatation.

Methods

In a randomized, single-blind study, 14 patients with acute pulmonary embolism received epoprostenol or placebo infusion for 24 hours on top of conventional treatment. Effects on right ventricular end-diastolic diameter, systolic pulmonary artery pressure, right ventricle fractional area changeand tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion were assessed by serial echocardiography. Furthermore Troponin T and NT-proBNP were measured serially.

Results

Compared to placebo, epoprostenol was associated with a relative change from baseline in right ventricular end-diastolic diameter of +2% after 2.5 hours and -8% after 24 hours. Epoprostenol did not have a significant effect on systolic pulmonary artery pressure, right ventricular fractional area change and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, nor on biochemical parameters.

Conclusion

In patients with acute pulmonary embolism and right ventricular overload, treatment with epoprostenol did not improve right ventricular dilatation or any other measured variables of right ventricular overload.

Trial Registration

Registration: URL: NCT01014156

Medical ethical committee: Medisch-ethische toetsingscommissie (METc) from the VUmc (free university medical centre)