Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Medical Reports: Clot Buster
They're called silent killers. Blood clots can strike anyone at anytime and they can be deadly, but doctors have a new tool to break up the clots in minutes. Seven's Richard Lemus shows us how this Clot Buster is saving lives.
WSVN -- Robert Kehrer enjoys the thrill of slamming the ball back and forth an the raquetball court.
Robert Kehrer: "I mean it's one of the best rushes in the world. When you hit a great shot."
But one wrong move left the 37-year-old with a torn calf muscle. He spent weeks in a cast and then something horrible happened.
Robert Kehrer: "My leg started to swell up. It was almost twice the size of the other leg and there was a degree of pain."
Doctors gave him alarming news. Robert had deep vein thrombosis or DVT. A life-threatening blood clot that develops in the veins of the legs.
Robert Kehrer: "He said it can be life-threatening because the blood clot can go up into heart and the lungs."
DVT is often caused by lengthy travel or being inactive for too long. NBC correspondent David Bloom who spent days in a cramped armored vehicle in Iraq died from DVT in 2003. Doctors usually treat DVT with blood thinning medications, which only prevent the clot from getting bigger and traveling to the lungs.
Dr. Terry King: "But it does not cure it, it does not melt it away and it does not prevent longtime problems with the legs."
Now doctors at the Cleveland Clinic are using a new device called the Trellis, it actually gets rid of the clot.
Dr. Terry King: "The purpose of this is to help eliminate the whole clot if we can, and also to restore the function of the valve in the veins."
Here's how it works: Balloons are inflated on both sides of the clot to keep it from moving, while a catheter is inserted into the clot and shoots out clot-busting drugs.
Dr. Terry King: "The catheter actually spins to break up the clot mechanically. A fresh clot is like jello in a bowl and it will easily break up."
Patients are able to walk immediately after the procedure and get back to their normal activities within a few days. For Robert, he's just glad it got him back on his game.
Robert Kehrer: "I would say this procedure made it a lot easier for me to get back on the court and get back to a whole regular lifestyle."
Richard Lemus: "The Trellis procedure takes less than two hours to perform, but you will have to spend a night in the hospital."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Terry King
The Cleveland Clinic
2950 Cleveland Clinic Boulevard
Weston, FL 33331