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March 2007

Sharon Regional offers new procedure for treating deep vein thrombosis

            New techniques are being used at Sharon Regional to treat patients with extensive, symptomatic deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots. The goals are to rapidly and safely eliminate the DVT. 

            James R. Gebhart, D.O., FACOS, board certified vascular surgeon, performs the new procedure using the Trellis-8 Peripheral Infusion system from Bacchus Vascular. The device combines mechanical mixing with controlled use of “clot busting” medication (TPA) to physically remove blood clots. This has been used worldwide with a greater than 80 percent success rate on a problem that has been previously untouchable.

              Traditional treatment for DVT has been anticoagulation, “blood thinning” medication, that doesn’t remove the clot but rather stabilizes it. The major complications of DVT include blood clots to the lungs, known as pulmonary embolism, disabling leg pain and swelling, and long-term swelling with skin changes that lead to poorly healing leg ulcers.

               “This Trellis system gives us the tools to fight these major complications of DVT,” says Dr. Gebhart. “Many kinds of patients can benefit from this procedure, but the ideal candidate is the younger patient, less than 70 years old, with a large, fairly new clot.”

                Dr. Gebhart’s procedure is usually done in a single setting under a local anesthetic through a quarter-inch incision behind the knee. After the procedure, the patient needs to continue on blood thinning medications for a period of time to prevent new clots from forming.

               The formation of a blood clot, known as a thrombus, in a deep leg vein can be very serious and often lead to permanent damage to the leg. Early treatment with “blood thinning” medication is important to prevent a life-threatening pulmonary embolism but doesn’t treat the existing clot. It is estimated that there are between 400,000 and 600,000 new DVT cases diagnosed each year in the U.S.

For more information, call the office of Dr. James R. Gebhart at 724-981-4190.


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