OBJECTIVE--To determine the efficacy of fibrinolytic therapy with tissue plasminogen activator (alteplase) in infants and children with arterial thrombosis after cardiac catheterisation. DESIGN--Use of alteplase (Actilyse) in a protocol with prospective data collection. Alteplase was administered to infants and children with arterial thrombosis after cardiac catheterisation. A dose of 0.5 mg/kg/h was given continuously via a peripheral vein for the first hour followed by 0.25 mg/kg/h till clot lysis occurred or treatment had to be stopped because of bleeding complications. SETTING--University hospital, intensive care unit. PATIENTS--17 consecutive infants and children with femoral artery thrombosis after cardiac catheterisation between 1 April 1988 and 31 October 1991. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Reopening of the vessel. RESULTS--Complete clot lysis was achieved in 16 of 17 patients within 4-11 hours after the start of treatment. In one patient only partial lysis occurred. After complete lysis rethrombosis developed in one patient 15 hours after the end of treatment. Bleeding complications were seen in nine patients. These were restricted to the arterial puncture site, except for one who showed mild epistaxis. Three patients had to be treated with packed erythrocytes. CONCLUSIONS--Alteplase was an effective treatment of arterial thrombosis after cardiac catheterisation in infants and children. Further studies are needed to determine whether lower doses will reduce the frequently observed bleeding complications.
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