Instead of making a chest incision for open heart surgery, cardiovascular surgeons can now use a new vacuum-like tool to remove potentially deadly, large clots that lodge in patients' hearts. Orlando Health Heart Institute is the first in Central Florida to offer the advanced technology. Jeffrey Bott, MD, who practices at the Heart Institute, performed the procedure in January.
The clot removal system, AngioVac, by AngioDynamics, includes a small tube that is inserted in the neck and/or groin to access the blood vessels with the clot. The end of the tube has a funnel shaped tip with an expandable balloon that vacuums out the clot and traps it in a container. Once the clot is removed the blood is filtered before it is returned to the patient's body.
Less invasive than traditional open heart surgery, AngioVac is considered game changing technology in removing dangerous blood clots.
"This technology allows us to aggressively and safely remove large clots without open heart surgery, which means there is no large incision, there is less pain, and a faster recovery for patients," said Dr. Bott, who practices at the Heart Institute's Orlando Health Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery practice, and serves as the chair, Thoracic Surgery at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Before AngioVac, treatment for some patients may have included more invasive open heart surgery to remove the clots, while others may have been treated with medications like blood thinners.
"Removing a blood clot is critical," said Dr. Bott. "Blood clots can break off, travel through the blood stream, and block blood flow to the lungs or other vital organs. The end result can be fatal."
A blood clot can form in, or travel to, the veins or arteries in the heart, lung, brain, kidneys and limbs. A clot can block or limit blood flow, causing damage to the body's organs, or other serious medical problems, and even death.
Signs and symptoms vary depending on where the clot forms. For example, a blood clot in the heart or lungs may cause shortness of breath or chest pain. A blood clot in the deep veins of the leg may cause pain and swelling in the lower leg.
A blood clot can form for various reasons including infection, certain blood disorders, cancer and other conditions.
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