OLYMPIA FIELDS, Illinois - A procedure that rapidly dissolves a pulmonary embolus without the complications associated with the condition is now being performed at Franciscan Health Olympia Fields.
Interventional Cardiologist Faheem Ahmad, MD, performed the first procedure where targeted drug therapy and ultrasound are delivered simultaneously through the EKOS catheter.
For patients diagnosed with massive or sub-massive clots in the lung, EKOS has successfully eliminated clots in hours instead of days. “Before EKOS, our only option was delivering clot-dissolving meds via a central line,” he said. “The dosage was very high and, as a result, there was a high risk of hemorrhaging in the brain. Because the medications were not locally delivered, there was a good chance the clot would not dissolve completely.” The EKOS catheter is unique in the way it delivers thrombolytic agents to the pulmonary embolism. Equipped with ultrasound ports, the catheter is inserted into the clot followed by ultrasound energy that is used to spray the medication.
Rapid Response for Patients Presenting with Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms Reduces Pulmonary Hypertension
At Franciscan Health, patients presenting with a massive or sub-massive pulmonary embolism activates a team that includes a cardiologist, pulmonologist, radiologist and the cath lab team.
Resolving the crisis quickly reduces pulmonary hypertension, often without permanent damage to the heart. In some of the earliest cases, pulmonary hypertension dropped by half or normalized within 12 to 24 hours.
“With this technology, we deliver less than one-fourth the amount of medication we used to with even better results,” Ahmad said. “Studies have shown the risk of hemorrhaging using EKOS is negligible while the success in breaking the clot is very, very high. Results are rapid: We typically see pulmonary artery pressures return to near normal in just a few hours.”
The procedure takes 10 minutes after which the patient goes to ICU – 12 hours for a single pulmonary embolism and 24 hours for a patient with blood clots in both lungs. The procedure cuts the length of stay in half – two to three days on average.