Acute pulmonary embolism (PE) is a common condition frequently associated with a high mortality worldwide. It can be classified into non-massive, sub-massive and massive, based on the degree of haemodynamic compromise. Surgical pulmonary embolectomy, despite having been in existence for over 100 years, is generally regarded as an option of last resort, with expectedly high mortality rates. Recent advances in diagnosis and recognition of key qualitative predictors of mortality, such as right ventricular stress on echocardiography, have enabled the re-exploration of surgical pulmonary embolectomy for use in patients prior to the development of significant circulatory collapse, with promising results. We aim to review the literature and discuss the indications, perioperative workup and outcomes of surgical pulmonary embolectomy in the management of acute PE.

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European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

He, C, von Segesser, L.K, Kappetein, A.P, Mestres, C.A, Smith, J.A, & Choong, C.K.C. (2013). Acute pulmonary embolectomy. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (Vol. 43, pp. 1087–1095). doi:10.1093/ejcts/ezs605