FlowTriever Treatment of Pulmonary Embolism Available at Doctors Hospital of Laredo

Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Female physician listens to senior patient's heart

Doctors Hospital of Laredo is the first in Laredo, Texas, to use FlowTriever® for the treatment of pulmonary embolism. The FlowTriever® is the first mechanical thrombectomy device indicated by the FDA, and created for the treatment of pulmonary embolism, removing large clots from large vessels such as the pulmonary arteries without the need for thrombolytic drugs and consequent ICU stay.

A pulmonary embolism is caused when blood clots break free in the deep veins of the body and travel through the venous system to become lodged in the pulmonary arteries. The blockage of blood flow results in right heart strain as the right ventricle is unable to push blood past the clot. In severe cases, right heart failure may occur leading to a fatal event.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the leading cause of preventable hospital deaths1. Acute pulmonary embolism causes 100,000 to 180,000 deaths per year and is the third leading cause of cardiovascular death only after heart attack and stroke2,3. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, increased heartbeat, coughing up blood and very low blood pressure or fainting.

Anticoagulation or blood thinner is the most common treatment for pulmonary embolism. However, anticoagulation only prevents new clots from forming and will not actively breakdown existing clots. Intervention with thrombolytics (tPA) or “clot busting” drugs help to dissolve clots for patients with intermediate-risk or high-risk pulmonary embolism. Conversely, this treatment is associated with a higher risk of major and fatal bleeding and requires an ICU stay4

Dr. Kevin Ching, a Vascular and Interventional Radiologist at Doctors Hospital of Laredo states, “The FlowTriever procedure is a clinically proven, minimally invasive and safe approach for patients with pulmonary embolus. FlowTriever is an important new option for the treatment of pulmonary embolism. Patients now have a safer, less invasive treatment for pulmonary embolism that can immediately relieve their symptoms and improve their vital signs. Because of its low bleeding risk, immediate symptom improvement and faster patient recovery, I believe the FlowTriever procedure is a great treatment to offer to patients in Laredo.”

The procedure is typically a one-hour procedure that is completed under conscious sedation. The device’s mechanism of action is to disrupt and aspirate clots using large lumen aspiration catheters to rapidly remove the clot and restore blood flow.

Kevin Ching, MD, is board certified in Interventional Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology. He completed medical school at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, radiology residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been in Laredo since July 2020 and in practice for almost seven years. He is eager to offer high quality interventional radiology care to the Laredo community including: peripheral vascular disease, venous interventions, interventional oncology, portal hypertension treatments, biliary procedures, and many others. His office can be contacted at: (956) 523-3211.

1. Society of Hospital Medicine, Maynard GA, Stein JM, US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Preventing hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism: a guide for effective quality improvement. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, US Dept. of Health, and Human Services; 2008

 2. Goldhaber SZ. Venous thromboembolism: epidemiology and magnitude of the problem. Best Pract Res Clin Haematol 2012; 25:235-42

3. Goldhaber SZ, Bounameaux H. Pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis. Lancet 2012; 379:1835-46

4. Chatterjee S. Thrombolysis for pulmonary embolism and risk of all-cause mortality, major bleeding and intercranial hemorrhage. JAMA 2014; 311(23):2414-2421

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