Here is a 3-minute algorithm for the management of acute pulmonary embolism. Just need to ask 3 questions.

Caution: User discretion is advised. Tainted with reasonably acceptable levels of non-scientific content.

Click over the image for a high-resolution slide

Some more critical  questions need to be answered.

What is hemodynamic stability?

It is purely based on clinical signs and judgment.(One need to be doubly sure to rule out hypovolemia and sepsis-related hypotension)

Is RV dysfunction equivalent to hemodynamic stability?

No, it is not. Clinical instability must be associated.( The dogma is,  if the patient is stable even if there is significant RV dysfunction by echo , that RV dysfunction is not attributable to the current episode of PE)

Can we diagnose and proceed with lysis without CT pulmonary angiogram confirmation?

Yes, you can, provided your suspicion is too strong or you have the extraordinary talent to argue/defend even a fatal bleed ( with your boss or in medical audit ) in a patient who was subsequently proven not to suffer from PE .

How to switch over to Lysis from Heparin alone protocol?

Occasionally one may require to do it. There is an added risk of bleeding here. It can’t be avoided in some situations as Initially, it appear as low-risk PE later on becoming more Intense. Generally, high-risk unstable patients should receive lysis straightaway.

Is 60/60 sign is really useful in deciding lysis?

60 /60 sign tell us if Pulmonary artery acceleration time (PAT) and the TR jet both are less than 60 the likely hood of PE is high in a patient with suspected PE.

  • This sign recently got popular not because of its utility, rather because of its simplicity and attractive caption.
  • It may be very specific but least sensitive (<20%) So it can never be used as a screening test.
  • It also fails to differentiate chronic RV dysfunction from acute RV dysfunction.
  • The PAT is strongly influenced by RV dysfunction (It pulls it down below 60 as PAT is dependent on RV Dp/Dt and falsely diagnosing PE
  • 60/60 sign adds up to the value of  Mconllels sign and can confirm PE with almost 100% specificity.

Pulmonary atresia with VSD is one of the complex CHD subsets that requires a meticulous understanding of anatomy, physiology of pulmonary circulation. It can be termed as TAPAC -Total anomalous pulmonary arterial connection in extreme cases. Should we attempt to reverse this total chaotic pulmonary blood supply is the question?

It demands a highly focused cath study(hands & brain) and CT Imaging which might actually throw more light. Post-study Interaction with surgeon and team of cardiologist are vital. The decision to take up the challenge of surgery or abandoning poses equal intellectual stress. Continuous and critical decisions need to be taken. Repeat surgeries and cath based Interventions are often a rule.  Very few centers have mastered this surgery.

A single slide presentation


pulmonary atresia 4

In spite of all technological developments in pediatric cardiac surgery, there is considerable variations and expectation of the surgical outcome. The major surprise is the original Melbourne group(Ref 1 )  that advocated the uni-focalization as a  concept has almost abandoned this. Stanford and other groups still continue to use this technique more often as a single-stage procedure to improve the outcome.

Let us hope these children get the best of the right mix of technology and natural survival power and more importantly we must ensure the former do not interfere with the later



Post ample

Surgery has definitely  revolutionized the outcome in neonates and children in less severe forms of PA with good central pulmonary arteries ( Most of the Barbero Marcial Type A and many type B) The perceived negativity in this post regarding the outcome of surgery is primarily belong to some of the  Barbero Type B and many of  C.


Barbero-Marcial M , Jatene A Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. Surgical management of the anomalies of the pulmonary arteries in the tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia.1990 Jan;2(1):93-107. 


Pericardial effusion is often detected in patients with Infective endocarditis. Incidence can be as high as 25% . Most often it is mild, can be moderate in few.


  1. Sympathetic effusion in response to endocardial infection. It’s never more than minimal. (Evidence ? it’s only an assumption)
  2. IE related cardiac failure (Raised systemic venous pressure to which pericardial veins drain)
  3. Local sepsis, Abcess formation tracks to pericardial space through transmural lymphatics
  4. Fungal , granulomatous , Tuberculous IE (Rare) Here IE and PE  share the same pathology
  5. Part of systemic sepsis activated Immune mechanism (Polyseroists)
  6. Renal Involvement of IE-Renal failure
  7. Postoperative pericardial effusion in Prosthetic valve IE (Common, often loculated)

Clinical Implication

  • If the pericardial effusion is more than mild, it often denotes worse outcome. This implies more extensive infection or a marker of extracardiac causes of effusion like renal dysfunction.
  • Effusion may predispose to local dissemination of infection and ends up as peri-annular abscess is whether it is a cause or effect of effusion remains to be understood.It is often exudate as one would expect, but transudative  effusions also occur and would indicate more benign course.
  • The sterility of pericardial fluid has not been proven. Culture studies are rarely done from effusions associated with IE.
  • Pericardial effusions appear more often seen in IE of right heart valves. They turn out to be  IV drug abusers.
  • Contained rupture of an abscess needs to be differentiated from effusion

Can we give steroids for PE associated with IE?

Steroids can rapidly plug the inflammatory pores in the from the pericardial surface.It may also prevent future constriction. Currently, routine steroid therapy is not advised in infective pathology . If the infection is confirmed and is being taken care of by antimicrobial therapy there could be a role for steroids with user discretion.

Final message

During the echocardiographic evaluation of IE, the presence of pericardial effusion should be specifically looked for. These patients should be flagged and will require monitoring as the prognosis of PE complicating IE is a concern unless proved benign.


Two studies one from Spain and other from Egypt looked into this issue specifically.




Science is a journey in pursuit of truth. Hence, we search for it again and again.  (Thus, recurrent search becomes Re-Search)

As we try to progress in our knowledge towards absolute truth,  we need to admit our errors first. I think, one such error is blinking right in front of us in the vibrant corridors of coronary care and cath labs every day!  It is about the definition with which we deal the success of primary PCI. (A supposedly revolutionary acute coronary therapeutics  this century)

Waiting for the day . . . when all those fancy primary PCIs that leave the myocardium hurt (& retire ) with significant LV dysfunction to be reclassified as clear cases of primary PCI failures.

Severe aortic stenosis will cut off the systolic BP and hence classical pulsus parvus et tardus occurs. This is what , we have been taught all along.

How for it is true?  

One thing is clear from clinical observation. Systolic BP need not be low, often its normal even in severe Aortic stenosis. The issue becomes curious when  high BP is associated with severe Aortic stenosis. This can happen by a variety of mechanisms.(Aging/Loss of Aortic elasticity /Pressure recovery/Hypertension)  I think, there have been little correlative studies of pulsus parvus with central aortic pressure.

Can Aortic stenosis be a cause for systolic Hypertension?   (This academically murky question rose after I stumbled upon this paper )

This paper from the journal of Human Hypertension which was published many decades ago.It sincerely documented high BP in spite of severe AS . The most crucial aspect of this study , however, was the fact that hypertension was completely corrected after Aortic valve replacement. The authors attributed to this high systolic BP as the transmission of LV chamber pressure. This is a frontal attack on the traditional concept of pulsus parvus and systolic decapitation in LVOT obstruction.

I am not sure, whether knowledge always breeds knowledge. Medical science is equally affected by new-onset Ignorance or not recognizing past knowledge.( Like this paper of 1996.) I think this study is done with a good scientific basis and unable to find any serious flaws. Hats of to the authors. This could lead to a further breakthrough in our understanding of transvalvular gradients in Aortic stenosis and the poorly understood vascular- valvular Interactions. With, catheter-based TAVRs become so common, we can exactly measure the pressure dynamics in the Aortic root pre and post valve replacement. (* My take is , systolic BP in severe Aortic stenosis  is preserved until the onset of LV dysfunction)


Catheter based interventions in TOF  has caught the imagination of  Interventional cardiologists.decades ago. (Quereshi reported first in 1988 Royal Liverpool hospital ) .Somehow it could not develop into a full-fledged modality. The key issue in TOF  is,  RVOT obstruction is infundibular with some degree of valvular involvement. While the valvular component is amenable for easy correction by balloon, the infundibular stenosis requires some form of cutting or splitting. Embryologically,  the malalignment of IVS is the primary mechanism of obstruction. The balloon catheter is will find it difficult to tackle the alignment defect. .Obviously, surgeons can do a comprehensive RVOT reconstruction.

Things are beginning to change. Cutting balloons are available. Various dedicated VSD devices are being developed. Closure of large sub-aortic VSD  followed by  RVOT dilatation appears challenging task but distinctly possible in the near future.

Few cases of palliative RVOT dilatation with a balloon  in critical TOF  is been attempted We hope, in the coming decades at least simple forms of TOF are conquered by the interventional cardiologists!

Hardware: A small profile  coronary  cutting balloon  from Boston scientific .

What is in store for the future ?

3D printing of live heart and designer device or deployable patches for the malaligned VSD is possible. Currently, intracardiac ultrasound would assist the procedure.

RVOT reconstruction with RVOT stenting and percutaneous valves (Melody or Right sided TAVR equivalents) is already been done in post-ICR residual obstructions or late RVOT failure

Coronary cutting balloon flextome tof pulmonary valvuloplasty coronary hard ware

Flextome -Coronary cutting balloon

Balloon pulmonary valvotomy for tof tetrology of fallot

balloon angioplasty for TOF cutting balloon

pulmonary valvotomy in tof tetrology

pulmonary valvotomy in tof tetrology 3

 Other References

1.Boucek MM, Webster HE, Orsmond GS, Ruttenberg HD. Balloon pulmonary valvotomy: palliation for cyanotic heart disease. Am Heart J. 1988;115:318-322.

2.Qureschi SA, Kirk CR, Lamb RK, Arnold R, Wilkinson JL. Balloon dilatation of the pulmonary valve in the first year of life in patients with tetralogy of Fallot: a preliminary study. Br Heart J. 1988; 60:232-235.

 3.Parsons JM, Ladusans EJ, Qureshi SA. Growth of the pulmonary artery after neonatal balloon dilatation of the right ventricular outflow tract in an infant with tetralogy of Fallot and atrioventricular septal defect. Br Heart J. 1989;62:65-68.

4.De Geeter P, Weisburd P, Dillenseger P, Willard D. Valvuloplastie pulmonaire percutanée palliative dans les formes néonatales de tétralogie de Fallot. Arch Fr Pediatr. 1989;46:117-119.