Pulmonary embolism protocols in place

Norton Healthcare has established uniform protocols for the treatment of pulmonary embolism (PE). The move is intended to improve patient outcomes for the life-threatening condition that claims tens of thousands of lives each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our goal was to create a systemwide approach with the same agreed-upon treatment plan for pulmonary embolism patients presenting to emergency rooms or in an inpatient setting,” said Lesli L. McDonogh, R.N., director, Invasive Cardiology, Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Brownsboro Hospital.

When a patient presents with a pulmonary embolism, stable or unstable, ER physicians consult with a pulmonologist. The type of PE (massive, submassive or PE without right ventricular strain) is determined by the results of a CT scan, ventilation-perfusion scan (V/Q scan) or an echocardiogram. Treatment protocol options include anticoagulants, thrombolytics or an invasive intervention.

To create these protocols, McDonogh and the Norton Healthcare System PE Committee sought best practices from catheterization labs, cardiologists, interventional radiologists, Emergency Department and critical care personnel, pulmonologists and vascular surgeons. All four of Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals now have a Pulmonary Embolism Response Team for a timely response to patients’ needs.

For more information, contact McDonogh at lesli.mcdonogh@nortonhealthcare.org.

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