WHEELING – Wheeling Hospital officials announced a new service, the Pulmonary Embolism (PE) Response Team (PERT), which uses the latest technology to quickly treat PE, also known as the "silent killer."
The on-call PERT will respond to a PE at any hour, day or night.
"PE is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. The quicker PERT sees the patient and begins treatment, the greater the chance of a good/better outcome," said PERT Director Dr. Gregory Suero, an interventional cardiologist.
Other PERT physicians on the Wheeling Hospital team include interventional cardiologists Dr. Triston Smith and Dr. Deepak Hooda, as well as cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Victor Maevsky.
Each year, as many as 900,000 Americans can be affected by PE, resulting in 60,000 to 100,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Wheeling Hospital PERT members also include cardiac specialists, Intensive Care Unit and Radiology registered nurses and interventional radiology technologists. When a physician confirms the presence of a PE, a guideline-drive algorithm will be followed to assess the patient’s risk. If a patient is at intermediate or high risk for an adverse outcome, PERT will be immediately activated to respond.
"A PE is a blood clot that occurs in pulmonary arteries, which bring blood to the lungs. It can damage part of the lung due to restricted blood flow, decrease oxygen levels in the blood and affect other organs. Large or multiple blood clots can be fatal," Suero explained.
Wheeling Hospital recently purchased the EkoSonic Endovascular System to treat PE.
The system involves the physician introducing a catheter into the femoral or jugular vein. By watching a live X-ray of the patient’s lung, the physician can maneuver the catheter until it reaches the affected pulmonary arteries with the clot. There, it delivers high frequency ultrasound that busts the clot while simultaneously delivering medications to treat the affected area to restore flow to the lungs.
Before PERT, PE was treated with catheter-introduced medications, instead of ultrasound, to dissolve the clot. The ultrasound method is recognized as a better procedure because it allows closer targeted clot-busting penetration using a minimal dose to improve patients’ hemodynamics (fluid dynamics of blood flow) and prevent serious complications.
The EkoSonic system not only works faster than the former method. The ultrasound assisted thrombolytic therapy using the EKOS system also has been shown in multiple trials to improve the patient’s hemodynamics, improve the right ventricular size and function, lower the risk of bleeding, reduce the medication dosage by as much as 68 percent, and help prevent the development of devastating complications such as chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, a condition in which high blood pressure affects arteries of the lungs and right side of the heart.