Noninvasive transcutaneous low frequency ultrasound enhances thrombolysis in peripheral and coronary arteries

Robert J. Siegel, Shaul Atar, Michael C. Fishbein, Andrea V. Brasch, Thomas M. Peterson, Tomoo Nagai, Dharmendra Pal, Toshihiko Nishioka, Jang Seong Chae, Yochai Birnbaum, Claudio Zanelli, Huai Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that external ultrasound with low frequencies and high intensities can enhance thrombolytic drug-induced clot dissolution during in vitro experiments. In this series of studies, we evaluated the efficacy of peripheral and coronary thrombolysis in vivo in animals by using noninvasive transcutaneous ultrasound combined with thrombolytic drugs (streptokinase and tPA) and/or microbubbles agents (dodecafluoropentane [DDFP] and perfluorocarbon-exposed sonicated dextrose albumin [PESDA]). Thrombotic occlusions were induced in 74 rabbit iliofemoral arteries and 24 canine left anterior descending (LAD) coronary arteries in this in vivo study. By using the combination of transcutaneous ultrasound and streptokinase, the angiographic patency rate in rabbit iliofemoral arteries was higher (56%-100%) than with ultrasound (6%; P ≤ 0.0036) and streptokinase alone (6%; P ≤ 0.0012). Also, with transcutaneous ultrasound and microbubbles, the angiographic patency rates were 76%-100% as compared with ultrasound alone (0%, P ≤ 0.0003) or microbubbles alone (9%, P ≤ 0.0001). In the canine study of acute myocardial infarction, thrombolysis in myocardial infarction (TIMI) grade flow at 90 minutes in the tPA alone group was 0.92 ± 1.4 as compared with 2.42 ± 1.9 in the tPA plus transthoracic ultrasound group (P = 0.006). There was much improved reperfusion with tPA plus ultrasound as compared with tPA alone. In vivo animal studies demonstrate that noninvasive transcutaneous ultrasound can greatly enhance the effect of clot dissolution with thrombolytic drugs and/or microbubbles, and has the potential for clinical application as an adjunctive method to improve arterial thrombolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Fibrinolysis
  • Thrombolysis
  • Ultrasonics


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