Advanced treatment for blood clots offers new hope

January 11, 2022 Providence News Team

Illustration of venous thromboembolism (blood clot).

Each year, close to 1 million Americans are diagnosed with venous thromboembolism (VTE), a blood clot that forms in a vein, often resulting in disabling pain and poor quality of life. The clot can travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism which can be life-threatening. Approximately 100,000 people die from VTE annually. Unfortunately, the disease is often undertreated.

Rishi Kaushal, MDThat is why Rishi Kaushal, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers San Pedro and Torrance, is leading a change movement for VTE patients within the greater South Bay community. Dr. Kaushal wants to improve and save lives by offering new treatment options to VTE patients: the Inari ClotTriever for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and the Inari FlowTriever for pulmonary embolism (PE). Currently, Providence Little Company of Mary is the first and only health system in the area utilizing this transformative technology.

Traditional treatments for VTE relied on blood thinners (anticoagulants), which can stop the clot’s growth and prevent future clots but may be less effective at dissolving the clot immediately. Larger, life-threatening clots in the lungs are typically treated with clot-busting drugs called thrombolytics, which often require admission to an intensive care unit and may lead to excessive bleeding.

In contrast, with the Inari systems, a catheter is inserted through a small vein, and a small net-like device is guided through the catheter to capture and retrieve the clot.

Illustration: Using the Inari system to capture blood clots.“This low-risk, high-success treatment is minimally invasive and well-tolerated by most patients, often with an immediate and noticeable clinical improvement,” says Dr. Kaushal. “This procedure can be lifesaving in the case of pulmonary embolism and can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life when it comes to a DVT. The technology is a game changer for us.”

DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a type of VTE that occurs when clots form in the legs and, occasionally, in the pelvis or arms. A large clot can be fatal if it breaks off and travels to the lungs. “With the ClotTriever, the clot can be removed during an outpatient procedure and the patient can go home the same day,” says Dr. Kaushal.

According to Dr. Kaushal, the best candidates for the ClotTriever procedure are patients with DVT in the legs above the knee joint, particularly those who experience leg pain, swelling or discomfort, or patients who cannot tolerate blood thinners.

PULMONARY EMBOLISM

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a life-threatening type of VTE in which a blood clot travels to the lungs. Treatment for large PE often involves an intensive care stay with administration of clot-busting drugs through a catheter placed in the pulmonary arteries. “Although this therapy can be effective, these heavy-duty blood thinners are often used in critically ill patients with multiple medical problems, with a resulting elevated risk of serious bleeding that we would like to avoid,” says Dr. Kaushal.

The Inari FlowTriever, designed specifically for PE, avoids the need for powerful clot-busting drugs, so the risk of major bleeding is minimized. “The clot is removed with a device that applies negative pressure to suction out the clot,” says Dr. Kaushal. “Because of the efficacy of the procedure and the reduced need for an ICU stay, we are able to get patients home sooner and safer than prior treatments have allowed.”

Dr. Kaushal says that the best patient candidates for the FlowTriever are those whose pulmonary embolism is causing a significant impact on their oxygen level and heart strain.

He adds, “But even with patients who are stable, we are now finding that many individuals can have long-term consequences from not removing the clot immediately. So even stable patients with a large amount of clot may benefit from the procedure.”

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE

Dr. Kaushal is excited to offer his South Bay community the safest and most effective therapies for life-threatening conditions such as VTE, utilizing leading-edge technology such as the FlowTriever and ClotTriever.

“We want our community to know this transformative technology is available at Little Company of Mary,” says Dr. Kaushal. “We have a team of physicians and nurses dedicated to the treatment of venous thromboembolism and are ready to treat DVT and PE using the latest technology.”

For more information on treatment of blood clots, call 844-925-0942.

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