Suction thrombectomy

What is a suction thrombectomy?

A suction thrombectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is performed to remove blood clots inside an artery or a vein. Under normal circumstances, blood flows through the patient’s blood vessels, arteries, and veins. Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygenated blood with nutrients to the body, and the veins are responsible for carrying deoxygenated blood from the organs back to the heart.

In some instances, the blood thickens and clumps up to form a blood clot in the artery or vein. This results in a blockage in the vein or artery that can damage nearby tissue.

When is suction thrombectomy needed?

Suction thrombectomy may be recommended if a patient has a blood clot in an artery or vein in the limbs or other parts of the body. A blood clot may cause problems such as:

  • Swelling, pain or numbness in an arm or leg
  • A cold sensation in the affected area
  • Death of nearby tissue
  • Loss of function of an organ
  • Enlarged veins
  • Muscle cramps in the affected area
  • Blood clot moving to the lungs, which may cause breathing difficulties and may increase the risk of getting a pulmonary embolism.

Pulmonary embolism is a condition which occurs when there is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. Blood clots block blood flow to the lungs, which may be life-threatening.

What does Suction Thrombectomy treatment involve?

During this procedure, an IV will be inserted in the arm or hand, through which medicine and an anaesthetic be administered. The vascular surgeon will then, under ultrasound guidance, insert a catheter into the artery or vein. Contrast media is then injected, and x-rays are taken. The blood clot may be injected with a thrombolytic (‘clot buster’) to soften the clot. A suction device is then used to remove the blood clot. After the blood clot has been removed, the blood is thinned with medication, and the cause of the clot is identified and corrected.

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"Often healing takes place in ourselves as we pray for the healing of others."
~ Michael E. DeBakey