Blood Clot Treatments
Going to the source of blockages to remove them
This thrombolysis therapy can very effectively address clots that can be life-threatening if they travel to the brain, lungs, or heart. This kind of blood clot (or embolus) can result from cancer or cancer treatments, from major surgery, from traumatic injury, and other causes, and can travel to these critical locations. Another form of blood clot (thrombus) can arise within a vessel and sometimes be harmless but often cause circulatory compromise at its site of origin that results in pain, numbness, coldness, tingling, or swelling (especially in the extremities). Clots may grown and cut off blood supply to organs, or to an arm or leg, causing a life-threatening situation or loss of an extremity.
Thrombolysis can significantly improve blood flow and can reduce symptoms caused by a clot. Patients receive an intravenous sedative for the procedure. Access is usually through the femoral artery at the groin, and the radiologist watches the progress of the procedure on an x-ray monitor, using fluoroscopy.
Thrombolysis is a type of intravenous therapy for which IR the team will usually leave the catheter in place in a stable position, connected to an infusion device that delivers the drug in a highly controlled dose. This arrangement will usually need to deliver therapy for several hours or days to dissolve the clot. Patients remain in the hospital during this time, usually with intensive monitoring. The radiologist will use additional imaging, usually including ultrasound and angiography, during this time to monitor the progress of the treatment. If imaging reveals that the vessel wall is narrowed or damaged, it may be necessary after thrombolysis for the team to perform angioplasty and stenting to prevent the vessel from becoming obstructed again.
Catheter-directed thrombolysis is a safe and effective means of re-establishing circulation in areas affected by clotting.