Management of pulmonary embolism after recent intracranial hemorrhage: A case report

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Abstract

Rationale:

Venous thromboembolism may result from prolong immobilization following intracerebral hemorrhage. Massive pulmonary embolism with associated right heart failure is life-threatening, requiring treatment with anticoagulants or even thrombolytic agents. However, these drugs are contraindicated after a recent hemorrhagic episode, as they may induce further hemorrhage. There are no guidelines for treatment in these circumstances.

Patient concerns:

A 57-year-old man experienced massive pulmonary embolism and shock 18 days after an intracerebral hemorrhage.

Diagnoses:

Tachycardia and high D-dimer (21.27 mg/L fibrinogen-equivalent units) were noted. Chest computed tomography showed bilateral pulmonary trunk embolism.

Interventions:

Heparinization were used and activated partial thromboplastin time therapeutic range was 50 to 70 seconds. Fortunately, shock status and shortness of breath improved two days later. Continuing high dose Rivaroxaban was administrated for three weeks.

Outcomes:

There was no recurrent intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) following treatment for three-weeks with high-dose and one-year with standard dose of rivaroxaban. This report presents a treatment option in the management of these difficult clinical situations.

Lessons:

The combination of unfractionated heparin infusion and continuing non-Vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants use could manage life-threatening pulmonary embolism following recent ICH. Theoretically, the use of NOAC is a safer strategy if the patient with previous history of major ICH.

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