Indiana News

Vein vacuum helps eliminate need for open heart surgery

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Doctors at Lutheran Hospital have successfully used a new tool to remove dangerous blood clots from patients, without open heart surgery or even stitches.

Cardiologists recently performed the first procedure of this kind in northeast Indiana on an 80-year-old Fort Wayne woman, reported WISH-TV sister station WANE News.

Doctors use a vacuum-like device, called the AngioVac, to suction out clots. They pull the blood through a catheter line and into a canister, which filters out the clot. The blood returns back into the body through another catheter attached to the canister and inserted into the femoral vein, recirculating the blood through the body.

“We were familiar with the procedure, but we had never used that system before,” said Dr. Mark Meier, and interventional cardiologist at Lutheran Medical Group. “We were prepared for the right patient’s case to present itself. Working together when the stakes are so high really makes me proud to be a part of Lutheran’s team. This is why we do what we do.”

Because of her age and other health issues, Shirley Lewis was not a strong candidate for open heart surgery.

“I came in and I saw that and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that was in my body and they did it without intrusive surgical procedures.’ The whole thing was just phenomenal,” said Lewis.

“While she is still very sick, mom’s better than she has been in five years,” said Lewis’ youngest daughter, Melanie Renner-Brown. “It’s not just a job to them, it’s a miracle what this

group of doctors did for her. All I could do is hug these guys. They saved my mother’s life.”