Shortly after pelvic surgery, massive bilateral pulmonary emboli and shock developed in an elderly woman. Despite fluids, dopamine hydrochloride, and heparin sodium, her condition steadily deteriorated. Two trials of hydralazine hydrochloride were given and each was associated with pronounced clinical and hemodynamic improvements. Ninety minutes and 24 hours after the first trial, her pulmonary vascular resistance decreased 44% and 67%, respectively, and cardiac index increased 40% and 90%, respectively. There were insignificant changes in heart rate and blood pressure. The hemodynamic improvements reversed when the hydralazine therapy was stopped but improved again during the second trial. Hydralazine may be of substantial benefit to patients with hemodynamic compromise secondary to pulmonary embolism.
(Arch Intern Med 1981;141:1537-1538)