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Thrombolytic therapy

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Thrombolysis is the dissolution of a blood clot.

Thrombolysis occurs physiologically during haemostasis but accelerated thrombolysis is desirable in:

  • venous thromboembolic disease
  • thrombosis in the following arterial territories:
    • peripheral
    • coronary
    • cerebral

Thrombolytic therapy is routine in the management of peripheral arterial thrombosis and myocardial infarction. Thrombolysis in the treatment of stroke remains contraversial.

Studies have shown that thrombolysis in myocardial infarction is most beneficial when given within 90 min of the onset of symptoms, although a beneficial effects is seen if administration is delayed for up to 12 hr.

Depending on the local circumstances, optimal thrombolysis may require:

  • "fast track" treatment for patients admitted to hospital with chest pain
  • adequate training for general practitioners in the use of thrombolytics

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