Twenty year old Diane Zelenka was hospitalized for nearly two months this year after developing multiple blood clots. "My legs started to tingle and swell so I went to the emergency room and they found a had a DVT," stated Zelenka.
DVT, Deep Vein Thrombosis is a clot that can be life threatening if it travels to the lungs. Vascular Surgeon, Dr. Jim Benenati states, "The conventional treatment that we use are blood thinners that prevent the clot from getting worse, but it doesn't really make the clot go away."
Clot busting drugs used to treat strokes can help dissolve a DVT. Just think of an ice cube. "If you poured warm water over the ice cube, you know the ice cube would dissolve. But if we could puncture little holes in the ice cube to allow warm water to penetrate the ice cube it would dissolve much, much quicker," Dr. Benenati. That's why Dr. Jim Benenati at Baptist Cardiac and Vascular Institute uses a new catheter to deliver the drug right to the clot with the help of an ultrasound probe.
"The sound waves fragment the clot and as the clot gets fragmented it allows the medicine to drip and seep into all those crevices and it makes dissolving the clot much quicker and much more effective and that saves a lot of time," said Dr. Benenati. And can reduce the risk of complications. Similar to a heart procedure, the catheter is inserted through a blood vessel in the groin or most commonly behind the knee.
"Candidates for this are generally patients who have who are younger patients. The people who aren't candidates are people that are elderly with multiple medical problems that might make them higher risk to bleed." Dr. Benenati.
Diane wears a compression stocking and is still on blood thinners. Her case is more complicated than most, but her legs feel. "Better than they did, definitely but still some pain, still some swelling, hard to get back to my usual routine but better everyday."