As we know, when a blood clot travels the body, it can cause blockage, which may prove fatal — especially if it enters the heart or brain. Usually, surgery is necessary, under anesthesia. However, five middle-aged female and male patients have recently undergone a new endovascular treatment, allowing them to leave after just 2-3 days.
The most common location for blood clots is the left atrial appendage, leading to arrhythmia. “Blood-thinning medicines are usually prescribed; however, these fail to take effect in some patients, and may even cause allergic reactions, or bleeding,” says the head of the angiographic cabinet of the 1st city clinical hospital, the chief freelance X-ray endovascular surgeon of the Health Committee of Minsk City Executive Committee, Pavel Chernoglaz. “In such cases, surgery has been thought of as the only option, but we don’t need to operate with a scalpel: keyhole endoscope surgery is the less invasive alternative.”
A small puncture can be made in the upper thigh, near the groin, allowing medical instruments to be inserted. X-ray control leads them through the femoral vein, and the vena cava, to the left atrium. Here, an ‘umbrella’, or occlude, can be positioned, opening the atrial appendage and avoiding a blood clot causing harm. Within 40-50 minutes the procedure is complete. Currently, the state pays the cost of such intervention, with each ‘umbrella’ costing about $10,000.
Previously, the technique was available only at the Cardiology Republican Scientific and Practical Centre and the Republican Clinical Medical Centre of the Administration of the Presidential Affairs. However, city hospitals will also soon be performing the new treatment; four specialists at the 1st Minsk clinical hospital are already trained in using the technology.
By Alla Martinkevich