New Long-term Study Gives Hope to Potential Amputees

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For the past decade, baby boomers have been well-educated about the severity of blood clots in the brain causing strokes. But what many of them still do not understand is the potentially fatal effects of blood clots in their legs and arms as well as their available treatment options. An innovative clot-removal procedure, highlighted in a recent study, yields a 94.7 percent success rate in preventing amputation.

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For the past decade, baby boomers have been well-educated about the severity of blood clots in the brain causing strokes. But what many of them still do not understand is the potentially fatal effects of blood clots in their legs and arms as well as their available treatment options. An innovative clot-removal procedure, highlighted in a recent study, yields a 94.7 percent success rate in preventing amputation.

Key research findings include:

  • Recovery time is much quicker for those who have a mechanical thrombectomy. These patients typically spend a few days in the hospital and are up and moving around in just one day; whereas, their open surgery counterparts not uncommonly spend up to a week in the hospital and weeks in recovery.
  • Though it still remains more popular than mechanical thrombectomy, clot removal through open surgery appears to produce higher early amputation and mortality rates.
  • Even when surgical bypass is the recommended procedure, thrombus removal with mechanical thrombectomy may lead to a less complex surgery.
  • After 30 days, the limb salvage rate with the minimally invasive procedure using AngioJet was 94.7 percent and the mortality rate was only three percent.
  • Five years after the procedure, of those that were still living, 94.7 percent of the patients were amputation free. Many of the patients who did die before the follow-up period did so because of other health complications, such as cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Key AngioJet Facts:

  • The AngioJet Rheolytic Thrombectomy System is a specially designed catheter that traps and fragments the blockages in a vacuum created at its tip with high-velocity saline jets. Any remaining blockages were usually treated in a nonsurgical manner with angioplasty or a stent.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the AngioJet System late in 2006 for clot excision in the upper- and lower-extremity peripheral veins. The system, which is similar to a piece of industrial equipment that can cut through concrete, creates a very low pressure vacuum inside the catheter and employs water-jet technology to wash clots through the catheter without it being blocked.

Research Details:

Attributable quotes to chief investigator Gary Ansel, MD, a Riverside Methodist interventional cardiologist:

  • "The limb salvage and survival rates in the study group were better than any trial that has looked at surgical outcomes in these patients."
  • "People who come into the hospital with clots in their leg arteries have a higher death rate than patients with clots in their hearts."
  • "The AngioJet is a powerful tool that gives us a minimally invasive alternative to a very invasive surgery. The results of this study allow us to be more confident in offering this therapy to patients because we know the long-term results are very good."

Riverside Methodist Hospital
Riverside Methodist Hospital is a regional destination hospital in Columbus, Ohio, that is home to a number of top specialty centers including Heart and Vascular Services, Neuroscience Services, Cancer Services, Women's Health Services, Emergency and Trauma Services, Hand and Microvascular Surgery, Orthopedics, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Imaging and Bariatric Surgery. Riverside Methodist is nationally recognized for quality care, innovative treatments and reputation for excellence, consistently ranking on prestigious national lists such as the U.S.News & World Report "America's Best Hospitals" list. Serving patients since 1892, the 1,000-bed, teaching hospital employs nearly 6,000 people and has a top-notch medical staff of more than 1,200 experienced physicians who deliver advanced healthcare to more than 50,000 inpatients and 775,000 outpatients each year.

Riverside Methodist Hospital is a member of OhioHealth, a nationally-recognized, not-for-profit charitable, healthcare organization serving and supported by the community that was named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2007 and 2008. Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth is a family of 17 hospitals, 20 health and surgery centers, home-health providers, medical equipment and health service suppliers throughout a 40-county area. OhioHealth hospitals in central Ohio are Riverside Methodist Hospital, Grant Medical Center, Doctors Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital and Dublin Methodist Hospital. For more information, please visit our newly revised Web site at http://www.OhioHealth.com.

Note: Gary Ansel, MD, is a member of Possis Advisory Board and a consultant. Possis Medical Inc. is the developer, manufacturer and distributor of the AngioJet System.

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Christina Fitzer
Riverside Methodist Hospital
614.566.4517
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Julie Theado
Fahlgren Mortine
614.383.1626
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