Dameron Hospital | Health Outlook | Spring 2018

THERE are many types of blood clots that can harm the body in different ways. If a blood clot travels to the brain, this causes an ischemic stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack), often referred to as a brain embolism. When a blood clot blocks the main artery to the lungs or one of its branches, it’s called a pulmonary embolism. Most clots happen to people who are at high risk for blood clot formation, such as those who smoke or have heart disease. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, the buildup of fatty plaque in the blood vessels or even high cholesterol. As with a brain embolism, failure to treat any blood clot, embolism or blood vessel disorder can lead to severe complications or even death. In some cases, physicians can use blood thinners to prevent or reduce the clotting or coagulation of blood, but that doesn’t necessarily resolve a blood clot already existing in the body. One way physicians are addressing blood clots to arteries that lead to the lungs (as in a pulmonary embolism) or veins in the legs (known as either deep vein thrombosis or peripheral arterial occlusions) is through the EKOS® Acoustic Pulse Thrombolysis system. This innovative technology is available at Dameron Hospital. The EKOS system uses high-frequency ultrasonic waves in combination with “clot-busting” drugs to quickly soften blood clots and restore healthy blood flow. A special, hair-like wired tube, called a catheter, is guided through the blood vessels to the site of the blockage and used to release these powerful drugs. At the same time, the catheter produces a high-frequency ultrasound pulse that vibrates at high speed to help break up the fibrin or the fibrous mesh that holds blood clots together. This enables the drugs to reach the affected area much faster and more effectively. This two-step therapy allows for a smaller drug dose and faster treatment and may reduce potential side effects, like bleeding or other complications. “Using the EKOS system, we can now use ultrasound-assisted wave pulses to unwind and thin the affected area, making it more porous and allowing blood thinner medications or thrombolytic drugs to reach even deeper into the clot,” says Kusum Lata, MD, cardiologist, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation. “This two-step accelerated treatment helps to speed up the drug effectiveness and dissolves the clot much faster, using fewer drug dosages, to safely restore blood flow in patients with not only pulmonary embolisms, but also deep vein thrombosis and peripheral arterial occlusions. Treatment is possible in half the time with half a dose or less, which will result in a much safer outcome for the patient.” Above, a magnified illustration of the EKOS catheter inside a blood vessel; at right, the EKOS EkoSonic Thrombectomy System Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Merced, CA Permit No. 1186 Connect with us facebook.com/dameronhospital @DameronHospital youtube.com/DameronHospital 525 W. Acacia St. Stockton, CA 95203 Facebook “f”Logo CMYK / .ai Kusum Lata, MD The power of a pulse New EKOS therapy dissolves blood clots in half the time