Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Thrombolytic Medicines for Pulmonary Embolism
Thrombolytic medicines, such as streptokinase or
tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA), can dissolve
blood clots. These medicines may be used to treat
pulmonary embolism in life-threatening situations.
All thrombolytics can cause serious bleeding. Bleeding
inside the brain is a particular danger that can cause a stroke or death. In
general, thrombolytics are used only where the risk of bleeding can be balanced
against the risks of not dissolving the blood clot rapidly. Thrombolytics might be used when you have a large blood clot that is:
These medicines are given through a vein in the hand or arm.
Sometimes it is necessary to insert a catheter and give the medicine
directly into the pulmonary artery. You must be hospitalized to receive
Other Works Consulted
Guyatt GH, et al. (2012). Executive summary: Antithrombotic therapy and prevention of thrombosis, 9th ed.—American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest, 141(2, Suppl): 7S–47S.
Kearon C, et al. (2012). Antithrombotic therapy for VTE disease. Chest, 141(2, Suppl): e419S–e494S.
Kearon C, et al. (2016). Antithrombotic therapy for VTE disease: CHEST guideline and expert panel report. Chest, 149(2): 315–352. DOI: 10.1016/j.chest.2015.11.026. Accessed March 1, 2016.
Weitz JL (2016). Pulmonary embolism. In L Goldman, A Schafer, eds., Goldman-Cecil Medicine, 25th ed., vol. 1, pp. 620–627. Philadelphia: Saunders.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerJeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD - Hematology
Current as ofJune 4, 2016
Current as of:
June 4, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD - Hematology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital