Franciscan Alliance Hospitals Offer Advanced, Potentially Life-Saving Blood Clot Treatment

fillerFranciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point is the latest Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region hospital to offer the only Food and Drug Administration-cleared minimally invasive, endovascular treatment that significantly improves dissolution of deep vein and lung blood clots, while providing greatly reduced risks of complications and improved patient outcomes.

The EKOS Ekosonic Endovascular System, which some term a potential life-saver, also is offered at Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City, Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer and Hammond and Franciscan Healthcare-Munster.

The system uses a combination of ultrasonic waves and lytic agents to gently dissolve clots through an infusion catheter, which is positioned via a small puncture in a leg vein directly into the clot, under x-ray guidance, according to the corporation.

The ultrasound component offers more effective delivery of the tissue plasminogen activator, which dissolves the clot quicker and more effectively, using about one-fourth the normal dose. The risk of bleeding complications or vessel or valve damage is significantly low, compared to traditional methods.

Once in place, the catheter transmits low-power, high-frequency sound waves into the clot, while simultaneously infusing it with a thrombolytic (dissolving drug). The ultrasonic energy loosens and thins the clot’s fibrin structure and accelerates the thrombolytic process. Acoustic pressure waves gently force the drug deep into the clot and behind small but vital venous valves to ensure complete clearing.

Kevin Roesch, Franciscan Alliance regional director of cardiovascular services, pointed out that pulmonary embolism can strike anyone, including people who are healthy and athletic, as well as the elderly. The equipment, he added, is being used successfully in hospital cardiac catheterization labs by interventional cardiologists and radiologists and by vascular surgeons.

“This technology provides Franciscan Alliance hospitals with the means to treat patients who have blood clots that have formed in the vessels of the lungs, with state-of-the-art technology. Recent clinical studies have shown that patients can benefit from this treatment,” Roesch said.

He added that by using the specialized ultrasound component of the system that infuses the dissolving medicine into the blood clot, “we are able to get the medicine deeper into the clot and get it to dissolve faster. This can relieve symptoms quicker and can decrease side effects, by using lower doses of the clot-dissolving medication.”