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Saddle Pulmonary Embolism Treatment

PPT Hemodynamic Monitoring for the Respiratory Therapist PowerPoint

What is Saddle Pulmonary Embolism?

Saddle pulmonary embolism is a rare type of pulmonary embolism (PE) in which a clot lodges in the pulmonary artery near the point where the left and right pulmonary artery branches separate. This type of PE can be difficult to diagnose due to the lack of specific symptoms and signs. It is usually detected during imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The most common symptoms of saddle pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath, chest pain, and low oxygen levels. Other symptoms may include coughing, wheezing, and rapid heartbeat. In some cases, the patient may also experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and lightheadedness.

Saddle pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Without treatment, the clot can cause blockage of the pulmonary artery, resulting in death.

Treatment for saddle pulmonary embolism typically involves anticoagulant medications to prevent further clotting. In some cases, thrombolytic therapy or clot-dissolving medications may be used to dissolve the clot. Other treatment options include mechanical thrombectomy, catheter-directed thrombolysis, and surgical removal of the clot.

Drugs Used for Saddle Pulmonary Embolism Treatment

Anticoagulant medications are the primary treatment for saddle pulmonary embolism. These drugs work by preventing the formation of new clots, as well as preventing existing clots from getting bigger. Common anticoagulants include low molecular weight heparin (LMWH), warfarin, fondaparinux, and direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs).

Thrombolytic therapy is an option for some patients with saddle pulmonary embolism. This treatment involves the use of drugs that dissolve clots. Examples of thrombolytic drugs include alteplase, reteplase, and urokinase.

Mechanical thrombectomy is another treatment option for saddle pulmonary embolism. This procedure involves the use of a catheter to mechanically remove the clot from the pulmonary artery. Catheter-directed thrombolysis is another option, which involves the use of a catheter to deliver thrombolytic drugs directly to the clot.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the clot. Surgical removal of the clot involves the use of an endovascular stent or a surgical shunt. This procedure is often used if clot removal using medications or mechanical thrombectomy is not successful.

Risks of Saddle Pulmonary Embolism Treatment

The use of anticoagulant medications carries a risk of bleeding. Common side effects associated with anticoagulants include bruising, bleeding from the nose or gums, and bleeding from the rectum or vagina.

Thrombolytic therapy carries a risk of bleeding and stroke. Other side effects include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and headache.

Mechanical thrombectomy and catheter-directed thrombolysis can cause bleeding, heart attack, stroke, and infection. Surgery for the removal of the clot carries the usual risks associated with any surgical procedure, such as infection, bleeding, and nerve injury.

It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of saddle pulmonary embolism treatment with your doctor before beginning any treatment.


Saddle pulmonary embolism is a rare type of pulmonary embolism that can be life-threatening. Treatment typically involves anticoagulants or thrombolytic therapy, although in some cases surgery may be necessary. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor before beginning any treatment.