January 23, 2013 – Bathing dangerous blood clots in special medication, breaking them up with jets of saline and vacuuming them out of the body is a fast, effective method of treating deep vein thrombosis (DVT), suggests data being presented at the 25th annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy (ISET).
Rheolytic pharmacomechanical thrombectomy using combination therapy is fast and effective, reducing treatment time from more than two days to less than 24 hours, suggest phase II results of the multi-center PEARL registry.
As many as 600,000 people annually suffer from DVT, or blood clots in the large veins of the leg or abdomen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Small pieces of the clot can break off, travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism (PE), which kills as many as 100,000 people a year. DVT can develop when people are immobile for long periods (such as on a long flight) or severely dehydrated. Other risk factors include genetic conditions that cause the blood to clot too easily or obstructions in the pelvic veins.
People with DVT typically are treated with blood thinners. Often this treatment is only partially effective at removing the clot, which can cause lifelong pain, swelling and blood flow problems.
“We’re on the verge of a truly outpatient procedure for the treatment of DVT,” said Robert Lookstein, M.D., chief of interventional radiology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York. “This is a transformative technology that will enable more people who are suffering from DVT to have fast, effective minimally invasive therapy.”
In the study, 371 DVT patients were treated at 35 centers; 38 percent of treatments were completed in less than six hours and 76 percent in less than 24 hours. After 12 months, 81 percent of people remained free of DVT. Stents were placed in 116 patients (most in the pelvic arteries) to correct obstructions and prevent the future formation of clots.
The combination treatment involves giving DVT patients an intravenous catheter to introduce clot-busting drugs and then blasting the clot with high-pressure saline solution to break it up. A separate port on the catheter then vacuums up pieces of the clot and removes them from the body.
For more information: www.ISET.org