Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Less blood clot damage with extra treatment, research suggests

Date:
December 16, 2011
Source:
The Research Council of Norway
Summary:
Pain, swelling, itching, eczema and venous ulcers are characteristic signs of post-thrombotic syndrome, a condition developed by roughly half the patients who have experienced serious deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the leg. It has been demonstrated for the first time that a treatment to dissolve blood clots prevented such complications in a substantial number of patients. The treatment is called catheter-directed thrombolytic therapy.

Roughly half the people who get a serious blood clot in the leg experience lasting damage. Norwegian researchers are the first to show that a little-used supplementary treatment can help to prevent such complications.

Pain, swelling, itching, eczema and venous ulcers are characteristic signs of post-thrombotic syndrome, a condition developed by roughly half the patients who have experienced serious deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the leg.

Blood clots in the leg can lead to long-term damage, but an additional treatment reduces that risk.

In a study carried out in a group of Norwegian hospitals it has been demonstrated for the first time that a treatment to dissolve blood clots prevented such complications in a substantial number of patients. The treatment is called catheter-directed thrombolytic therapy.

Based at Oslo University Hospital, the project is a collaboration between the Department of Haematology and the Department of Radiology. All the hospitals in the South-Eastern Norway Health Region have participated.

No longer experimental

Catheter-directed thrombolytic therapy has been in modest use in Norway since the early 1990s and is known in other countries as well. But it is a costly treatment and until now its effect had not been documented.

Per Morten Sandset said "In our study we have shown for the first time that catheter-directed thrombolysis truly can reduce the long-term complications of blood clots in the legs," says project manager Per Morten Sandset, a professor at Oslo University Hospital's Department of Haematology. "This means it is no longer considered an experimental treatment and will likely be offered on a far larger scale."

Dissolves blood clots

Roughly half of the study's 209 blood-clot patients were randomly selected to receive standard treatment with blood-thinning medicine. The other half received thrombolysis in addition, administered via catheter and intended to dissolve blood clots.

The effects of the treatments were measured after six months and after two years, and will be measured again after five years. After two years, 41 per cent of patients who received both thrombolysis and conventional therapy had developed post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) compared to 55 per cent of patients receiving conventional therapy only.

International interest

The findings were recently presented at a conference organised by the American Society of Hematology and have been published in the electronic version of the medical journal The Lancet.

In their commentary in The Lancet, radiologists Lawrence V. Hofmann and William T. Kuo of the Stanford University School of Medicine in the US hail the Norwegian study as a very important contribution to the literature on treating blood clots in the legs. They conclude that the findings should lead to the adoption of thrombolytic therapy for patients with blood clots in the legs.

The two US radiologists point out, however, that although the results are promising, the PTS rate among the thrombolysis group is still too high. Professor Sandset concurs, but believes that refinements in the therapy will be able to substantially increase the rate of patients avoiding complications.

Must work out the best method

In the study, only one treatment regime was tested. Professor Sandset also points out that the health care personnel involved had relatively little experience with the therapy.

"It is to be expected that more experience with the actual procedure would yield better results. It is also reasonable to presume there are more effective ways of administering the therapy. This is a vital topic for further research," asserts Professor Sandset, who believes the gap between the two patient groups will widen with the follow-up after five years.

Open veins lower the risks

The study's researchers observed a clear correlation between thrombolytic therapy, unobstructed veins and lower risk of developing PTS.

"Patients with unobstructed veins had a far lower risk of developing PTS," explains Professor Sandset. "It is crucial to open up the veins and get the blood flowing properly again."

In thrombolytic therapy, patients receive medication through a catheter in the blood vessel and directly into the clot. This enables physicians to use a much lower dose than with conventional treatment, which is given intravenously.

The study also identified a drawback to thrombolytic therapy: increased risk of haemorrhaging. The researchers therefore recommend not using the treatment on patients at high risk for haemorrhage.

Professor Sandset emphasises that more and larger studies are needed in this area. US researchers are now recruiting 700 patients for a similar study on thrombolysis. Those results, due in a few years, will be compared with those of Professor Sandset and his colleagues.

The study has received funding under the Research Programme on Clinical Research (KLINISKFORSKNING), administered by the Research Council of Norway.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Research Council of Norway. The original article was written by Elin Fugelsnes/Else Lie. Translation: Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lawrence V Hofmann, William T Kuo. Catheter-directed thrombolysis for acute DVT. The Lancet, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61875-8

Cite This Page:

The Research Council of Norway. "Less blood clot damage with extra treatment, research suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111215094916.htm>.
The Research Council of Norway. (2011, December 16). Less blood clot damage with extra treatment, research suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111215094916.htm
The Research Council of Norway. "Less blood clot damage with extra treatment, research suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111215094916.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins