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Title

Management of preterm infants with intracardiac thrombi: use of thrombolytic agents

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Published in Pediatric Drugs. 2001, vol. 3, no. 12, p. 883-98
Abstract Improvement in neonatal care has led to improvements in survival and patient outcome in preterm infants; however, this improved survival has been associated with the development of secondary complications, such as catheter-associated intravascular and intracardiac thrombus formation with a non-negligible morbidity and mortality. The sick preterm infant is at high risk of catheter-related thrombus formation because of the combination of a high prothrombotic activity, low levels of natural anticoagulants, and various imbalances in the fibrinolytic systems. Based on clinical experience in adults and children, and several neonatal case reports demonstrating the efficacy and tolerability of specific thrombolytic treatment, this approach should be recommended as a first choice treatment in the premature infant with intracardiac or intravascular thrombosis. The thrombolytic agents of choice are urokinase or tissue plasminogen activator (tPA); however, none of them have proven to be superior to the other in terms of efficacy or tolerability, either in adult patients or premature infants. In the past, it has been suggested that newborn infants may require higher doses of thrombolytic agents than adults for effective systemic thrombolysis; however, based on more recent in vitro studies, it seems unlikely that this is true. Nevertheless, systemic (high dose) fibrinolysis is of concern as premature neonates present an increased risk of cerebral haemorrhage during the first weeks of life; therefore, low dose treatment has been proposed with, if possible, direct infusion of the fibrinolytic agent into, or close to, the thrombus. This approach has proven to be efficient and well tolerated in several small case series of newborn and preterm infants. Recommended doses are 1000 to 3000 U/kg/h for urokinase or 0.01 to 0.05 mg/kg/h for tPA. A systemic proteolytic state will not be induced by this low dose; however, specific monitoring of fibrinogen plasma levels has to be recommended. Fibrinogen levels should remain above 100 mg/dL during low dose treatment. Lower levels of fibrinogen will indicate the presence of an unwanted systemic fibrinolytic state. After successful thrombolysis, a follow-up treatment, preferentially with low-molecular-weight heparin for neonates at adjusted doses, should be instituted for at least 6 weeks in the absence of any persisting thrombophilic factor. A longer course (3 to 6 months) of anticoagulation therapy is recommended when thrombophilic factors (i.e. hereditary thrombophilia or central venous catheter still in place) are present. Furthermore, it is recommended that any neonate with thrombosis should be evaluated for hereditary thrombophilia later in life.
Keywords Fibrinolytic Agents/adverse effects/therapeutic useHeart Diseases/diagnosis/drug therapy/surgeryHumansInfant, NewbornInfant, PrematureThrombosis/diagnosis/drug therapy/surgery
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PMID: 11772150
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Article (Published version) (232 Kb) - document accessible for UNIGE members only Limited access to UNIGE
Structures
Research groups L'hypertension pulmonaire (pédiatrie) (228)
Maladies pulmonaires aigues et pathologies cardiaques congénitales (697)
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RIMENSBERGER, Peter, HUMBERT, James Ronald, BEGHETTI, Maurice. Management of preterm infants with intracardiac thrombi: use of thrombolytic agents. In: Paediatric Drugs, 2001, vol. 3, n° 12, p. 883-98. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:72623

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Deposited on : 2015-05-18

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