Heart and Vascular Center

Deep Vein Thrombosis (Thrombolysis)

Each year more than 600,000 Americans develop a blood clot in a deep vein, such as those in the lower leg or thigh. This is called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and it has become the third most prevalent cardiovascular disorder. When a DVT breaks loose, it can travel through the heart into the lungs and cause serious breathing problems and even death. Left untreated, DVT can cause life-long pain, swelling and skin ulceration in the legs. St. Joseph Hospital interventional radiologists are actively performing two new, high-end procedures making treatment for DVT safer, faster and more effective.

An FDA-approved device (shown above) called the Trellis-6 Peripheral Infusion Catheter (TIC) enables interventional radiologists to isolate and dissolve blood clots in a single setting within about two hours. This system uses two balloons and a vibrating wire threaded into the vein through the leg. The balloons are inflated and create barriers on each end of a blockage as the clot-busting drug is injected into the blood clot and spreads.

St. Joseph Hospital is also among the first hospitals in the nation treating DVT with the EKOS MicroSonic Accelerated Thrombolysis system, which is sometimes used in conjunction with the Trellis device. EKOS has miniature ultrasound devices that pulse. This opens up the clot so that it better absorbs the clot-busting drug. Patients treated with EKOS need a lower dose of the drug and treatment is accomplished in a much shorter timeframe.