Cure for Deep Vein Thrombosis?
New Technique Dissolves Blood Clots in Leg, Relieves Symptoms
Dissolving DVT Clots: Lots of Doctor/Patient Time, Patience continued...
Was it worth it?
"It was not very fun, but I would do it again in a heartbeat because it
saved my leg," McDonald says.
The new treatment has huge advantages over another new treatment.
Interventional radiologists already are using a mechanical suction device to
vacuum away blood clots loosened by infusion of clot-dissolving drugs.
"The advantage of the mechanical device is it is quick," Chang says. "If the
clot is fresh and soft, you can establish a channel in half an hour. But the
problem is that DVT often involves the small veins of the calf, and these
devices are not easy to move into calf veins. Whereas you can get enzymes into
the calf with a catheter."
"Improving the Chang technique is the future, because sucking the clot out
doesn't do it," Guerra says. "He has an 80% of patients with complete
resolution of blood flow and resolution of symptoms. He said no patient had
recurrent DVT -- that is a significant statistic, because the occurrence of new
DVT three to five years later is not small."
Chang stresses that the technique is not ready for prime time. It still must
be proved in clinical trials that the technique is safe and effective for the
kinds of DVT patients doctors regularly see. But Guerra says the Chang results
already pose a dilemma to interventional radiologists who may already be
pressed for time.
"This procedure is very labor intensive and needs a very expert
professional," he says. "But if a person has significant calf and thigh
thrombosis, and is willing to undergo two days of tedious catheterization, we
should be able to offer it. Interventional radiologists will be hard pressed
not to give patients the chance and step up to the plate and take the time to
do the job. I would hate to turn an appropriate patient down."
Chang and colleagues report their findings in the February issue of the