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Keywords:

  • controlled trial;
  • fibrinolysis;
  • indemnification;
  • methodology;
  • thrombolysis;
  • venous thromboembolism

Abstract

Background

Submassive pulmonary embolism (PE) has a low mortality rate but can degrade functional capacity.

Objective

The present study aims to provide rationale, methodology, and initial findings of a multicentre, randomised trial of fibrinolysis for PE that used a composite end-point, including quality of life measures.

Methods

This investigator-initiated study was funded by a contract between a corporate partner and the investigator's hospital (the prime site). The investigator was the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sponsor. The prime site subcontracted, indemnified, and trained consortia members. Consenting, normotensive patients with PE and right ventricular strain (by echocardiography or biomarkers) received low-molecular-weight heparin and random assignment to a single bolus of tenecteplase or placebo in double-blinded fashion. The outcomes were: (i) in-hospital rate of intubation, vasopressor support, and major haemorrhage, or (ii) at 90 days, death, recurrent PE, or composite that defined poor quality of life (echocardiography, 6 min walk test and surveys). The planned sample size was n = 200.

Results

Eight sites enrolled 87 patients over 5 years. The ratio of patients screened for each enrolled was 7.4 to 1, equating to 11 h screening time per patient enrolled. Primary barrier to enrolment was the cost of screening. Two patients died (2.5%, 95%CI [0–8%]), one developed shock, but 18 (22%, 95%CI: [13–30%]) had a poor quality of life.

Conclusions

An investigator-initiated, FDA-regulated, multicentre trial of fibrinolysis for submassive PE was conducted, but was limited by screening costs and a low mortality rate. Quality of life measurements might represent a more important patient-centred end-point.