Deep Venous Disease

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins of an extremity, usually the calf, thigh or pelvis. It may cause symptoms such as pain or swelling or no symptoms at all. DVT also puts a person at greater risk for pulmonary embolism, a potentially life-threatening blood clot in the arteries that supply blood to the lungs.

Most DVT is treated with medicine alone, but extensive DVT may require some form of interventional treatment. At University Radiology, our interventional radiologists safely treat deep venous disease using procedures including:

Deep vein thrombolysis

Thrombolysis is a minimally invasive treatment to break up or dissolve blood clots, often in the legs or arms. The procedure improves blood flow and reduces the risk of complications from clots such as pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition in which a blood clot travels through the bloodstream to the lungs.

What are the benefits?
  • Eliminates a blood clot, restoring proper blood flow.
  • Relieves blood clot symptoms such as swelling, pain, cramping and tenderness.
How does the procedure work?

Using X-ray imaging guidance, your interventional radiologist will insert a catheter through a tiny nick in the skin, into a blood vessel in the leg. The catheter is advanced to the vein containing the clot. The catheter tip is inserted into the clot, where it releases a clot-busting drug that causes the clot to dissolve in a day or two. In some cases, a catheter-based mechanical device may be used to remove the clot directly or in conjunction with a clot-busting medication.

Future clots may be prevented with the use of balloon angioplasty or stent placement or the insertion of an IVC filter, a small device that helps capture blood clots. You may stay a few days in the hospital after the procedure, depending on the severity and location of the clot.
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Pulmonary thrombolysis

Without treatment, a blood clot (DVT) in the leg can break off, travel through the bloodstream, and get trapped in the lungs — a life-threatening condition known as a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary thrombolysis is a procedure similar to deep vein thrombolysis, but used to break up clots that have already moved to the lungs.

What are the benefits?
  • Eliminates a blood clot, restoring oxygen supply from the lungs to the heart.
  • Appropriate therapy for pulmonary embolism can greatly reduce a person’s chances of surviving the disease.
How does the procedure work?

Using X-ray imaging guidance, your interventional radiologist will insert a catheter through a tiny nick in the skin, into a blood vessel in the leg. The catheter is advanced to the lungs. The catheter tip is inserted into the clot, where it releases a clot-busting drug that causes the clot to dissolve in a day or two. Most patients undergoing this procedure are already hospitalized because of the serious nature of pulmonary embolism.
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IVC filter

An IVC Filter is a medical device placed in the inferior vena cava (IVC), a large vein in the abdomen. IVC filters are placed to decrease the risk of having blood clots in the legs move up to the lungs — a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism. IVC filters are often used for patients who:

  • Suffer from blood clots in the legs, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • Will be experiencing prolonged bed rest due to surgery or trauma.

A removable IVC filter may be placed if the condition that requires the IVC filter is not permanent.

What are the benefits?

IVC insertion:

  • A minimally invasive option for patients who are not good candidates for medical therapy to prevent blood clots in the lungs.
  • IVC filters have been shown to provide excellent protection against pulmonary embolism.

Removal:

  • If a retrievable filter is in place, you will be enrolled in our program to help remind you to have it removed within a 3-month time frame. Retrievable IVC filters may break over time and cause complications. If you still have an increased risk of blood clots moving to the lungs, your retrievable filter will be removed and a non-retrievable filter will be placed.
How does the procedure work?

IVC insertion:
Your interventional radiologist will make a very small skin nick in the area of the body where the filter will be inserted. Using X-ray imaging guidance, your radiologist while insert a small, flexible tube (catheter) and thread it to the blood vessel being treated. IV contrast (dye) is injected to assure appropriate sizing and location, and then the filter is inserted through the catheter. The procedure takes about an hour and you will go home the same day.

IVC Removal:
After numbing the skin at the base of your neck, a tiny skin nick, no larger than the width of a fingernail, is made. Your interventional radiologist will then insert a small, flexible tube (catheter) into a vein in the neck and thread it into the IVC using X-ray guidance. IV contrast (dye) will also be injected into your IVC to determine the position of your filter and to determine the presence of any significant trapped clot. The filter will be retrieved using a variety of techniques with the catheter. The procedure takes about an hour and you will go home the same day.
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For an appointment: Call 800-758-5545 Mon – Fri: 8 am – 8 pm, Sat: 8 am – 12 pm