(06/07/12) - Melting away a potential killer. A new device is destroying dangerous blood clots.
76 centimeters, 30 inches,2.5 feet - that's how big the blood clot was in Gerry Cunha's body. "I just couldn't imagine two and a half feet of clotting," he said.
It was deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.
"A clot that forms in the deep veins of the leg," said Dr. Warren Swee, Vascular Radiologist.
The clot went from below his knee to his lower abdomen.
The traveling salesman was in trouble. "I could hardly walk. I was in such horrible pain."
There was a serious chance of pulmonary embolism. The clot could break off, enter his lungs, and kill him, so in a letter, he told his wife goodbye.
But she didn't have to read it thanks to this: The ekos system goes into the leg and through the blockage to deliver clot-busting medication like other catheter devices. But the ekos adds ultrasound. Dr. Swee says the vibration better penetrates the clot, making it easier to dissolve. "It cuts down the time and the amount of clot-busting medication we need."
He tells us it requires half the time and half the medication of similar procedures, making it safer for patients like Gerry who can't handle high doses of clot-busting drugs. "So patients that may not have been a candidate before may be a candidate now."
Today, Gerry's leg is back to normal and he's back on the road. "I can drive about 300-400 miles a week."
To prevent blood clots from forming while on long flights, walk around the plane every hour or two, change positions in your seat, drink lots of fluids and try not to cross your legs.
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