AJR: Image-guided treatment improves DVT outcomes
Image-guided interventional treatments may improve long-term outcomes for patients with deep venous thrombosis (DVT), according to a commentary in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

"DVT is estimated to occur in nearly one million persons per year in the United States alone," said author Suresh Vedantham, MD, from the departments of radiology and surgery at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology and Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis. "The anticoagulant treatment method is good at preventing pulmonary emboli; however, it does not completely destroy a blood clot or prevent a patient from developing long-term complications—including chronic, daily leg pain, swelling, changes in skin color and open sores."

According to Vedantham, image-guided pharmacomechanical catheter-directed thrombolysis involves the delivery of a lytic drug through a catheter-mounted device that dissolves the clot, “eliminating it completely and possibly improving a patient's long-term outcome and preventing future occurrences.

"The use of imaging-guided treatments for DVT is accelerating. Increased appreciation of the impact of postthrombotic syndrome on DVT patients’ quality of life and advances in thrombolytic methods have together sparked an unprecedented degree of interdisciplinary collaboration in developing contemporary DVT treatment guidelines and a pivotal clinical trial to establish the risk–benefit ratio of interventional DVT therapy," Vedantham wrote.

The trial, ATTRACT, will evaluate the ability of state of-the-art thrombolytic methods to improve outcomes. Results will not be avaialbe until 2014.

"Most patients with DVT do not know that there are image-guided treatment options available. That is why it is important for referring physicians and radiologists to talk more because patients can really benefit from these procedures," said Vedantham.