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Treatment of DVT

Treatment of DVT

Maine Medical Center Offers New "Clot-Busting" Treatment of DVT
MMC participates in Deep Vein Thrombosis Clinical Trial, ATTRACT

Portland, ME – Maine Medical Center is one of 35 centers in the United States chosen to participate in the ATTRACT trial – the first National Institutes of Health sponsored trial of a catheter-based treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a leg vein. DVT afflicts more than 350,000 Americans yearly and is caused by a number of conditions including: interruption of blood flow (immobility on long flights, pregnancy, etc.), abnormality of blood (medications, smoking, malignancy, etc.) and irritation to blood vessels (leg fractures). The trial will evaluate the use of clot-busting drugs in combination with clot removal devices to prevent post thrombotic syndrome in patients with DVT.

Post thrombotic syndrome (PTS), a common irreversible complication of DVT, causes permanent damage to the veins, resulting in debilitating chronic leg pain, swelling, fatigue and/or skin ulcers. About 25–50 percent of DVT patients develop post thrombotic syndrome when treated with blood thinners alone. While early treatment with blood thinners is important to prevent a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, blood thinners alone do not dissolve the existing clot, which remains in the leg.

ATTRACT, Acute venous Thrombosis: Thrombus Removal with Adjunctive Catheter-directed Thrombolysis, and is commonly referred to as thrombolysis. This new minimally-invasive technique to treat DVT is offered to patients at Maine Medical Center. Thrombolysis uses a small tube placed into the clot to deliver a "clot-busting" drug as well as mechanically break the clot up into smaller pieces and suck them out from the vein. This treatment, performed without surgery, results in little to no recovery time. Thrombolysis is successful in restoring normal blood flow in over 80 percent of the time.

Susan Shapiro was treated with thrombolysis at Maine Medical Center. She had recently returned from a transcontinental flight and developed severe pain and swelling in both legs making it difficult to walk. She was admitted to Maine Medical Center where DVT was diagnosed in both legs extending into the abdomen. Thrombolysis was performed with complete removal of all clots. Her pain and swelling significantly improved.

"Susan’s case is an example of how we can help patients with DVT. Most patients and their doctors do not know about this option and feel they may be resigned to their fate of leg swelling and pain. Because we can remove the clot very quickly and without surgery, we cannot only relieve their acute symptoms but prevent long-term complications as well," said Dr. Paul Kim, Assistant Director of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at Maine Medical Center. Speaking of her treatment at Maine Medical Center, Shapiro said, "I was in the right place at the right time. Dr. Paul Kim is ‘the guy’ for DVT care. His level of contemporary treatment makes the difference."

Maine Medical Center is the only location in Maine using thrombolysis to treat patients with DVT and participating in the ATTRACT trial. Patients are evaluated and treated by Vascular and Interventional Physicians from Spectrum Medical Group. These physicians have subspecialty training in minimally-invasive therapies to treat a variety of vascular diseases. Vascular & Interventional Physicians have successfully been using thrombolysis to relieve the symptoms from DVT of many patients in the greater Portland area and throughout the state of Maine.

About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland, the entire state, as well as northern New England. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in southern, central, and western Maine. For more information, visit www.mmc.org.

Technology Updated


Did You Know? We treat varicose veins and spider veins? Varicose veins are swollen veins which protrude in a rope-like manner under the skin. Normal veins, by virtue of one-way valves, channel blood against gravity up the leg and back to the heart. When a valve becomes defective, it allows blood flow to leak back down the leg resulting in congestion and swelling of the vein. This is a medical condition called Venous Insufficiency.
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