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MCCG Performs Second AngioVac® Procedure in Southeast

MACON, GA (April 20, 2011) – Surgeons from the Macon CardioVascular Institute, a service of The Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG), last week performed a procedure with AngioVac®, by Vortex Medical, a modern technology that enables all at once the removal of entire clots and emboli from the venous system. AngioVac® has successfully treated patients with pulmonary embolisms, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and clots in the inferior vena cava. Last week's procedure was the first of its kind at MCCG, the second hospital in the southeastern United States to utilize this potentially revolutionizing treatment for life-threatening clots.


The AngioVac® Cannula is a vacuum device that removes clots and emboli through suction from the bloodstream. It is used in conjunction with the AngioVac® Circuit, which includes a centrifugal pump, a filter and venous return line to re-infuse the cleansed blood. The blood never accumulates outside of the patient, and his or her blood pressure remains stable throughout the procedure.


“With most current procedures, the act of removing the clot is done by surgically cutting open a patient, grabbing the clot and plucking it out,” said Dr. Lishan Aklog, creator of AngioVac®, and chief of cardiovascular surgery and chair of the Cardiovascular Center at the Heart and Lung Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Az. “That put the patient through a lot of surgical trauma. So we tried a catheter-based less-invasive treatment that mimics what was being done surgically. That was what inspired us.”


Patients suffering from blood clots, a condition called thromboembolism, can be treated with the minimally invasive approach of anticoagulants and thrombolytic agents. Certain patients, however, have strong contradictions from this approach, including those who recently had surgery, suffered a trauma such as a stroke, have thin blood, or are in extremis and do not have time to allow the treatments to dissolve the clot(s). This leaves these certain patients with surgery as the lone option.


“The benefit to the patient with AngioVac® is that up until now there have been no real options for removing clots in certain settings,” said Dr. Juan Ayerdi, the vascular surgeon who performed the operation at MCCG. “Leaving those clots in circulation poses a significant risk for a patient.”


Long-term consequences of DVT – blood clots formed in the deep veins of the legs or pelvis –  includes severe pain, swelling, blisters, discoloration and ulcers, which could require amputation. Because veins return blood to the heart, if a piece of a blood clot formed in a vein breaks off (called an embolism), it can be transported to the right side of the heart, and from there to the lungs for a condition called pulmonary embolism. This very serious condition can be fatal if not properly recognized and treated. A 2008 U.S. Surgeon General report estimated between 350,000 to 600,000 Americans each year suffer from DVT and pulmonary embolism, and at least 100,000 deaths may be directly or indirectly related to these diseases.