Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) within a vein in the leg. Symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, warmness, and engorged superficial veins in the leg.
Left untreated, DVT can break off and travel through the bloodstream into the lung, where it becomes trapped, blocking oxygen supply to the body and causing heart failure. This is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal. With early treatment, people with DVT can reduce their chances of developing a life-threatening pulmonary embolism to less than one percent.
DVT and PE can be treated safely and effectively through a minimally invasive image-guided procedure known as catheter-directed thrombolysis. This clot-busting treatment is performed by a minimally invasive specialist called a vascular interventional radiologist.
To open up a blocked vein in the leg, the interventional radiologist makes a tiny incision in the groin or behind the knee to access the clot. Using specialized X-ray equipment, the physician passes a catheter (small tube) into the affected vein, and guides it near the location of the block. The catheter tip is placed into the clot and a clot-busting drug is released. The fresher the clot, the faster it dissolves – one to two days.
In some patients, an alternative approach to treatment may be medically advised. SLUCare minimally invasive specialists may treat blood clots by inserting a vena cava filter, a small device that functions like a catcher's mitt to capture blood clots but allow normal liquid blood to pass.
We are minimally invasive image-guided specialists. Our fellowship-trained doctors offer expertise in both DVT and PE, with a high rate of success.
No stitches needed. Our minimally invasive approach uses an incision so tiny it can be covered with just a Band-Aid®.
Our collaborative approach assures comprehensive care. SLUCare interventional radiologists work with pulmonologists and critical care physicians to deliver the best possible outcome for the patient.
For an appointment, call 314-977-5600.