Pulmonary embolism (PE) remains a common and life-threatening event. The use of ultrasound-assisted thrombolysis (USAT) for the delivery of thrombolytic agents to the clot has developed in the last 10 years. A search yielded no evidence-based practice guidelines for the nursing care of the patient with PE during and post USAT treatment and specifically when using the EKOS machine.
The objective of this integrative review was to explore the literature and web for any information on the use of USAT for adults with PE both during and post treatment. Our goal was to examine nurse-specific practices to develop appropriate protocols.
We conducted a search of PubMed, Web of Science, EBSCOhost, CINAHL, Google Scholar, and Google for any guidelines, observational studies, or experimental studies using USAT for PE in adults. Nurse authors independently reviewed the articles using a standardized data coding form. Information abstracted included sample and setting characteristics, access characteristics, medication, sheath removal, compression, and bleeding events.
Twenty-two articles, published in 2008–2019, met the eligibility criteria. Most studies were small retrospective studies at single sites. Variation existed on the clinician, the clinical area for placement, the amount and duration of delivery of medication, and where care was provided during the infusion. Few studies noted sheath removal or compression procedures. Fifteen studies reported 1 fatal, 12 major, 4 moderate, and 36 minor bleeding events at the catheter insertion sites.
There is lack of sufficient information for the development of nursing practice guidelines for this new technology.