Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE) Treatments
Blood clots are semi-solid masses of blood. Normally, blood flows freely through veins and a certain amount of clotting, or coagulation, is necessary and normal. However, when too much clotting occurs, it can lead to serious complications.
When a blood clot forms, it can be stationary (thrombosis) and block blood flow or break loose (embolism) and travel to various parts of the body. Clots that occur in larger veins are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a major blood vessel in the lung suddenly becomes blocked by a blot clot.
Most times, blood thinning medication is given to treat DVTs and PEs. However, there are times when a large amount of clot causes significant symptoms or can be potentially life threatening. Interventional Radiologists at Triad Radiology Associates are specially trained to treated large clot burdens with minimally invasive techniques. Through small catheters, clot busting medication can be directly introduced into the clot (catheter-directed thrombolysis) or attempts can be made to suction out clot (catheter-based thrombectomy). The procedures help with removing as much clot as soon as possible and require admission in the hospital.
IVC Filter Placement and Retrieval
Blood clots in the veins of the legs and pelvis (DVT) can occasionally travel to the lungs where they may cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) or blockage. Bloods clots are usually treated with blood thinning medication. However, in patients who are bleeding and cannot receive blood thinning medication, who have large clot burdens, or who develop more clots while taking blood thinning medication, Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filters can be placed, which help to reduce the risk of pulmonary embolism by trapping large clots and preventing them from reaching the heart and lungs, which can sometimes be life-threatening.
An IVC filter is a small umbrella shaped device that is placed in the large vein within the abdomen that drain the legs. It is placed through a small catheter inserted from a small nick in the neck or groin. Most IVC filters can be temporarily placed and retrieved while others may be permanent. When the filter is no longer needed, the retrieval IVC filters can usually be removed using the same minimally invasive techniques used during placement.
A venous access procedure (also called vascular access procedure) is used for patients who have conditions that require frequent intravenous (IV) treatments. The procedure involves the insertion of a flexible and sterile thin plastic tube, or catheter, into a blood vessel to provide an effective method of drawing blood or delivering medications, blood products, or nutrition into a patient’s bloodstream over various periods of time (e.g., weeks, months, years).
The major types of venous access catheters include
- Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC): a long catheter that extends from an arm or leg vein into the largest vein (superior vena cava or inferior vena cava) near the heart. Typically, it provides central IV access for several weeks, however, it may remain in place for several months.
- Tunneled catheter: usually has a cuff that stimulates tissue growth that will help hold it in place in the body. These catheters come in various sizes and are secure and easy to access. Both the tunnel and the cuff help decrease the risk of catheter infection.
- Non-tunneled catheter: is often larger in caliber than a PICC and is designed to be placed via a relatively large, more central vein (e.g., jugular vein, femoral vein).
- Subcutaneous implantable port: consists of a catheter attached to a small reservoir, both of which are placed under the skin similar to tunneled catheters.
Other equipment that may be used during the procedure includes an intravenous line (IV), ultrasound machine, and devices that monitor your heartbeat and blood pressure.
Triad Radiology offers Vascular Interventions and Venous Access at a variety of locations, including hospitals, imaging centers, and clinics. Contact us if you want to learn more or schedule an appointment.