Feasibility of sonothrombolysis in the ambulance for ST-elevation myocardial infarction

Soufiane el Kadi, Thomas R. Porter, Mark Zanstra, Arjen Siegers, Ramon B. van Loon, Luuk H. G. A. Hopman, Albert C. van Rossum, Otto Kamp

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Patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) due to coronary occlusion require immediate restoration of epicardial and microvascular blood flow. A potentially new reperfusion method is the use of ultrasound and microbubbles, also called sonothrombolysis. The oscillation and collapse of intravenously administered microbubbles upon exposure to high mechanical index (MI) ultrasound pulses results in thrombus dissolution and stimulates nitric oxide-mediated increases in tissue perfusion. The aim of this study was to assess feasibility of sonothrombolysis in the ambulance for STEMI patients. Patients presenting with chest pain and ST-elevations on initial electrocardiogram were included. Sonothrombolysis was applied in the ambulance during patient transfer to the percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) center. Feasibility was assessed based on duration of sonothrombolysis treatment and number of high MI pulses applied. Vital parameters, ST-resolution, pre- and post-PCI coronary flow and cardiovascular magnetic resonance images were analyzed. Follow up was performed at six months after STEMI. Twelve patients were screened, of which three patients were included in the study. Sonothrombolysis duration and number of high MI pulses ranged between 12 and 17 min and 32–60 flashes respectively. No arrhythmias or changes in vital parameters were observed during and directly after sonothrombolysis, although one patient developed in-hospital ventricular fibrillation 20 min after sonothrombolysis completion but before PCI. In one case, sonothrombolysis on top of regular pre-hospital care resulted in reperfusion before PCI. This is the first report on the feasibility of performing sonothrombolysis to treat myocardial infarction in an ambulance. To assess efficacy and safety of pre-hospital sonothrombolysis, clinical trials with greater patient numbers should be performed. EU Clinical Trials Register (identifier: 2019-001883-31), registered 2020-02-25.
Original languageEnglish
Journalinternational journal of cardiovascular imaging
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


  • Ambulance
  • Reperfusion
  • ST-elevation myocardial infarction
  • Sonothrombolysis
  • Therapy

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