The doctors from the clinic at the University of California at Los Angeles have got an unusual patient. Todd Dunlap had a blood clot that had grown substantially over almost the entire length of his body and could get loose at any moment (it would be a fatal accident if the blood clot got in the lungs).
When an elderly American was taken to hospital, he had no idea that he was on the brink of life and death. The patient complained of breath shortness, chills, and fatigue.
Computer diagnostics showed that a large blood clot stretched in the veins from his heart to legs. It was necessary to remove it immediately. There were two possible ways to do it: a standard surgery or a new vacuum method, using the AngioVac apparatus. This method is gentler, but Californian doctors had never used it by that time.
Todd Dunlap decided to take a chance and chose the second option. The doctors put a mini-camera in his esophagus to monitor the heart. Then they introduced a special tiny “vacuum cleaner” hosepipe in the neck artery and attached it next to the blood clot. The other end of the device was inserted in a vein in the groin.
In a matter of three hours, the clever machine “sucked” the 24-inch blood clot, and after seven days the American was allowed to leave hospital.
If Todd had chosen an open surgery, he would have spent much more time in the hospital. The surgeons said that such patients could be sent home not earlier than in 2 weeks, after they had a course of rehabilitation.
Blood clots kill more than 100,000 people in the USA each year.