DVT procedure is lifesaver
Trellis device safely unblocks veins, relieves pain
Barbara Sipherd went from a wheelchair and uncertain future to walking without pain, thanks to a new treatment that broke up life-threatening blood clots in her leg. Patients who suffer from deep veinthrombosis (DVT) are benefiting from a minimally invasive procedure that uses the FDA-approved Trellis Peripheral Infusion System at Bryan Medical Center.
Barbara is a 40-year-old mother of two. This Oakland, Iowa, resident was hospitalized in the Omaha area but received only conventional anticoagulation therapy and pain medications for her condition. In her case, that wasn't enough. DVT involves blood clotting in large veins, usually in the legs. This leads to blocked circulation - and the risk of serious complications, such as a pulmonary embolism or even death if not diagnosed quickly and treated.
"Deep vein thrombosis usually affects people in their sixties, not a young person like Barbara," notes husband David. "To have to deal with leg pain and mobility loss for the rest of her life just wasn't acceptable to us - there had to be something, somewhere that could be done."
Turn to us for help
The family searched for answers. David's mother, Belva Sipherd, the transfusion service coordinator at Bryan Health, and a friend discovered information about Trellis on the Internet. "We also learned that about half of DVT patients get post-thrombotic syndrome, which is a dangerous pooling of blood in the legs," Belva recalls. "We were making plans for Barbara to go to Arizona for a Trellis procedure, but after more calling around and talking to physicians we found out that David's high school class-mate Dr. Michael Budler was among physicians doing this right in Lincoln."
Interventional radiologists like Dr. Budler and vascular specialists offer the procedure here. Barbara arrived at Bryan East Campus this summer with severe swelling of her left leg and in extreme pain. A couple of hours later, her condition had dramatically changed. "It was incredible, to be able to stand again and walk around almost right away after the procedure," Barbara recalls.
How it works
Trellis uses pharmaco-mechanical thrombolysis. That is, an unusual catheter system with two balloons and an oscillating wire is threaded into the vein. The balloons are inflated to create barriers on each end of a blockage, and the wire vibrates to help spread clot-busting drugs such as tPA.
"The beauty is that the balloons trap the clot, so a dose of only about one-tenth as much tPA used with conventional treatment goes into the patient's circulation," Dr. Budler explains. "It only takes about 10 minutes to liquefy the clot, which is sucked out to remove the danger of it going to the lungs or heart. Everything's done in a matter of hours, not days." Bryan Health is one of the few places in the Midwest offering the procedure. "This new technique provides rapid, effective and safer treatment for patients suffering from acute DVT," adds Dr. Budler of Advanced Radiology. "Patients are pain-free and able to return to their lives almost immediately. I'm encouraging physicians to consider this more aggressive option for treating DVT and decreasing the occurrence of post-thrombotic syndrome."