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September 10, 1997

The World in Medicine

JAMA. 1997;278(10):806. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550100028013

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Pulmonary Clot Busting  What's good for the heart can also benefit the lungs and save lives in the process.Researchers at the Universitaetsklinik Freiburg in Freiburg, Germany, have reported that thrombolytic agents widely used to stop myocardial infarction also are effective in dissolving blood clots in the pulmonary artery in a particularly controversial patient group—those who arrive at the hospital in stable condition.The study included 719 patients who were enrolled in a pulmonary embolism registry from 204 medical centers throughout Germany in 1993 and 1994. All arrived at the hospital in stable condition. The researchers reported in the August 4 Circulation that the mortality rate in the group that received throm-bolytics within 24 hours of diagnosis was 4.7% compared with 11.1% in those who did not.The rate of recurrence was 7.7% in those who received the drugs compared with 18.7% in those who did not. However, those who