Right ventricular (RV) dysfunction has been identified as a poor prognostic indicator in sub-massive pulmonary embolism (SPE). We hypothesized that using selective vasodilator agent is beneficial in improving RV function in patients with this condition.
We used inhaled prostacyclin analogue (Iloprost, Ventavis®) in five patients with SPE. Helical computerized tomography angiogram was confirmatory for pulmonary embolism and echocardiography was used to evaluate the RV status. All patients received inhaled Iloprost, 2.5 to 5 μg every 4 hours for 3 weeks.
Patients were prospectively followed for 3 months. They were assessed at baseline before starting Iloprost treatment and at 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months after treatment. All patients showed significant improvement in their functional class, Borg dyspnea score, NT pro-BNP level, and echocardiographic parameters.
In SPE, directing therapy toward decreasing pulmonary vascular resistance improves the associated pulmonary hemodynamic compromise and improves RV function.