(Photo by Tyler Waldman)
Time is critical in catching blood clots after reconstructive surgery. A few hours can be the difference between a minor procedure, a major revision or worse.
“If you recognize it too late, the clot grows like a spider and crawls out into all the nooks and crannies,” said Dr. Devin Coon, a Johns Hopkins reconstructive surgeon.
Coon is helping to develop a way to help medical professionals catch clots faster. He presented Wednesday at the Baltimore TechBreakfast in Mount Washington.
“The two-part solution consists first of an absorbable, echogenic marker placed underneath the vessels at the surgical site (EchoMark) and software (EchoFind) to guide users to the right position and extract blood flow data,” the company explains on its website.
Using a doppler ultrasound or the company’s own software, a non-expert medical professional (i.e., a nurse or ultrasound tech) can determine how well blood is flowing to the area.
Clots will form after between seven and 15 percent of reconstructive surgeries, Coon said. Many of those clots require new procedures. Right now, doctors use a color duplex ultrasound to detect clots.
“It’s too complicated for bedside providers like nurses to use this routinely,” said Coon, Sonavex’s chairman and chief medical officer.
Currently, EchoSure is in animal testing, the only level of testing required under FDA rules for such devices, Coon said. He showed imagery of a healthy pig’s ultrasound. The artery glowed a solid red, while the vein pulsed blue. On another pig’s clotted blood vessels, the artery indicator was dark while the vein dully flashed blue.
“It’s really easy to use if you can give people that visual feedback,” Coon said.