Acute pulmonary embolism with infarction can delay urgently needed heart transplantation and increase the postoperative pulmonary complications. Few data are available concerning pulmonary embolization in the pediatric patient with end-stage congestive heart failure. Sixty-two consecutive pediatric patients awaiting heart transplantation were monitored for evidence of acute pulmonary embolism. Acute pulmonary infarction was documented by ventilation-perfusion scan, pulmonary angiography or pathologic examination in six patients. The prevalence differed by diagnosis; 5 of 36 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and 1 of 20 patients with congenital heart disease developed acute pulmonary embolism with infarction. No significant difference in age at the time of transplantation evaluation, duration of congestive heart failure, presence of cardiac arrhythmias or degree of cardiac dysfunction was seen between patients with and without pulmonary embolism. Two-dimensional echocardiography failed to detect the presence of an intracardiac thrombus in four of the six patients. Two patients who developed acute pulmonary infarction are alive after successful heart transplantation. The remaining four patients died within 6 weeks of initiation of anticoagulant therapy before transplantation could safely be performed. In summary, pediatric patients with end-stage congestive heart failure are at risk for acute pulmonary embolism. No specific clinical factor identified those patients who developed acute pulmonary infarction. Anticoagulant therapy is strongly recommended in the pediatric patient with poor ventricular function awaiting heart transplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine