Nowadays doctors can suck all kinds of stuff out of you -- fat, tumors, your last dollar.
But a 2-foot blood clot. Ew. (See the gross photo below.) The use of an AngioVac to pull the clot out of Todd Dunlap's body at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center probably saved the 62-year-old's life. You see, the thing stretched from his legs to his heart:
UCLA doctors say that if they didn't act, the clot could have lodged in Dunlap's lungs, blocked his oxygen intake and killed him "instantly."
The successful, "minimally invasive procedure" last month was the first of its kind, the school said this week.
According to UCLA:
A team of UCLA interventional radiologists and cardiovascular surgeons slid a tiny camera down Dunlap's esophagus to visually monitor his heart. Next, they guided a coiled hose through his neck artery and plugged one end into his heart, against the clot. They threaded the other end through a vein at the groin and hooked the hose up to a powerful heart-bypass device in the operating room to create suction.
Three hours of suction.
Needless to say, Dunlap is happy to be alive.
I'm thrilled that I didn't have to go through open-heart surgery. This procedure is a great option for the older, frail person who wouldn't survive open-heart surgery. Without an alternative like this, he's a goner.
Now, if anybody needs a used blood clot ...