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DVT treatment saves man from massive blood clot

July 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gerry Cunha, a travelling salesman, was blown away when a 2 1/2 foot blood clot was discovered in his leg.

Cunha's leg ballooned from the clot, which went from below his knee to his lower abdomen. The traveling salesman was in trouble.

"I could hardly walk. I was in such horrible pain," he said.

There was a serious chance of pulmonary embolism. The clot could break off, enter his lungs and kill him. So in a letter, he told his wife goodbye.

Luckily, she didn't have to read it, thanks to the EKOS System. The device goes into the leg and through the blockage to deliver clot-busting medication like other catheter devices. But the EKOS adds ultrasound.

Doctor Warren Swee says the vibration better penetrates the clot, making it easier to dissolve.

"It cuts down the time and the amount of clot-busting medication that we need," he said.

According to Swee, the EKOS requires half the time and half the medication of similar procedures, making it safer for patients like Cunha who can't handle high doses of clot-busting drugs.

"So patients that may not have been a candidate before may be a candidate now," said Swee.

Because of the size of Cunha's clot, it took Swee two days to completely dissolve it.

Today, Cunha's leg is back to normal and he's back on the road, free of a monster clot that was slayed with tiny wires.

"I can drive as many as three to 400 miles a week," he said.

While on long road trips, Cunha wears compression socks and gets out for short walks to help prevent another clot from forming. To prevent clots on long flights, doctors recommend walking around the plane every hour or two, changing positions in your seat, drinking lots of fluids and trying not to cross your legs.


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