HealthWACH: Vacuum out killer blood clots

HealthWACH: Vacuum out killer blood clots


Heart attacks and stroke are the number one fear of patients who have a history of blood clots. They can cause serious health problems and may interfere with daily functions. Before blood clots are formed, the clot goes through stages to build the blockage. A blood clot may also be viewed as a positive reaction when injury occurs, but if one develops in the brain or lungs then medical attention is needed immediately.

Blood clots are formed all of the time due to the amount of cuts or injuries a person has. Once the cut has healed and the bleeding has subsided, the clot usually goes away. If the blood platelets continue to build, then it can form an unnecessary clot in the veins or arteries. Diseases, conditions, medicines, and genetic mutations can also cause blood clots to form.

Symptoms of having a blood clot depend on where the clot is located. Shortness of breath, chest pain, and discomfort in the upper body are symptoms of having a heart attack or pulmonary embolism. A person may have a blood clot in the veins of the leg if the leg swells, is painful, or if it is red. Symptoms of blood clots in the brain include dizziness, paralysis, headaches, and speech changes.

A new technology is being used to suck out the blood clots in veins and arteries. The AngioVac is a vacuum-like machine that removes blockages in the veins during bypass procedures. Procedures can take up to 6 hours but will filter the veins and deliver fresh blood once the clot is removed. The AngioVac procedure is favored over traditional bypass procedures because it is less invasive.