Research examines safety of treatments for deep vein thrombosis
Patients who have a clot in their legs and are considering whether to be treated with traditional blood-thinning medication or undergo a minimally-invasive catheter-based clot removal procedure should feel comfortable that there is no difference in death rates between the two treatments, although there are more bleeding risks with the catheter procedure, according to a study by Temple University School of Medicine researchers. The study involved a review of more than 90,000 cases nationwide.
Riyaz Bashir, MD, a specialist in interventional cardiology and vascular disease at Temple Heart & Vascular Center, directed the study, which was aimed at figuring out the best way to treat a painful and potentially deadly condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The study, to be published by JAMA Internal Medicine, compared two approaches: catheter-based thrombolysis, which involves inserting a catheter to deliver clot-dissolving medication directly into the leg clot; and medical therapy using a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulation). The study found that the in-hospital mortality rate was similar for the two groups. However, the catheter-based procedure was associated with higher rates of bleeding. The catheter procedure also was more costly than the medical therapy and involved more days in the hospital.
It is estimated that about 6 percent of DVT patients die within one month of the diagnosis. The study should help inform an ongoing medical debate over the safest and most effective way to treat DVT, which is the third most common cause of cardiovascular morbidity and death after coronary artery disease and stroke. When a blood clot develops in a vein in the leg, it can break loose and travel to the lungs, causing a deadly condition called pulmonary embolism. DVT, which occurs in about 1 out of every 1,000 people per year, can have a long-lasting effect on a person's well-being.
About 20 to 50 percent of patients with above-knee DVT will go on to develop a condition called post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) even when treated with anticoagulation therapy and compression stockings. Patients with PTS experience pain, swelling, itching, skin discoloration and heaviness in the legs, and, in severe cases, skin ulcers.
"These patients can end up very disabled. They sometimes are unable to work and they lose their job," said Dr. Bashir, Associate Professor of Medicine. "Post-thrombotic syndrome places a huge economic burden ($2.4 billion and 200 million work days lost annually in the U.S.) on the health-care system."
Several studies had shown that early removal of the clot using catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) leads to a significant reduction in the incidence of PTS along with improvement in patients' quality of life.
The studies were too small, however, to draw any conclusions about the safety of the catheter-based procedure versus medical therapy alone using blood-thinning medications, and doctors are divided on which approach is better.
The American Heart Association recommends the catheter-based procedure (CDT) as the first-line therapy for patients at low risk for bleeding, while the American College of Chest Surgeons recommends against the use of CDT because of safety concerns and the complexity of the procedure.
Dr. Bashir and his research team used a national database called Nationwide Inpatient Sample to study outcomes for patients who were hospitalized for DVT between January 2005 and December 2010.
They identified 90,618 cases overall. They then compared 3,594 patients who underwent the catheter-based procedure to deliver clot-busting medication to the same number of patients who received anticoagulation alone.
Among the findings were:
The researchers found that rate of CDT utilization for treating DVT went from 2.3 percent in 2005 to 5.9 percent in 2010. Over that same period, the mortality rate for patients who had CDT went down, which is probably a reflection in a refinement in catheter based technologies and increased operator experience. However the rate of bleeding continued to remain higher in this group of patients. Patients who had the procedure at a higher-volume center tended to do better, the study found.
Dr. Bashir said that some patients with DVT clearly benefit from the catheter based procedure, but he said patients needed to be carefully selected. His team concluded that more research is needed to sort out the risks versus the benefits of the procedure.
"In light of the findings of this study, it is imperative that the magnitude of benefit from CDT has to be substantiated in order to justify the increased upfront resource utilization and bleeding risk of this therapy," the researchers wrote. "In the absence of such data, it may be reasonable to restrict this form of therapy to those patients who have a low bleeding risk and have a high risk of PTS," such as patients with clots at or above their groins.
"I think all patients with leg clots should be informed about the risks of developing PTS and its consequences and the risks of catheter-based clot removal so that they can truly participate in shared decision-making," Dr. Bashir said.
Dr. Bashir conducted the study with three other Temple University School of Medicine researchers: Chad Zack, MD, Huaqing Zhao, PhD, and Alfred Bove, MD. Anthony Comerota, MD, of ProMedica Toledo Hospital in Ohio was also on the research team.
The study was funded by Temple University Hospital's Cardiovascular Division, which is a nationally-recognized leader in research on cardiovascular diseases and their treatments.
About Temple Health
Temple Health refers to the health, education and research activities carried out by the affiliates of Temple University Health System and by Temple University School of Medicine.
Temple University Health System (TUHS) is a $1.4 billion academic health system dedicated to providing access to quality patient care and supporting excellence in medical education and research. The Health System consists of Temple University Hospital (TUH), ranked among the "Best Hospitals" in the region by U.S. News & World Report; TUH-Episcopal Campus; TUH-Northeastern Campus; Fox Chase Cancer Center, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center; Jeanes Hospital, a community-based hospital offering medical, surgical and emergency services; Temple Transport Team, a ground and air-ambulance company; and Temple Physicians, Inc., a network of community-based specialty and primary-care physician practices. TUHS is affiliated with Temple University School of Medicine.
Temple University School of Medicine (TUSM), established in 1901, is one of the nation's leading medical schools. Each year, the School of Medicine educates approximately 840 medical students and 140 graduate students. Based on its level of funding from the National Institutes of Health, Temple University School of Medicine is the second-highest ranked medical school in Philadelphia and the third-highest in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. According to U.S. News & World Report, TUSM is among the top 10 most applied-to medical schools in the nation.
Kathleen Duffy | Eurek Alert!
A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences