The Heart Center Team Employs New Device to Remove High-Risk Blood Clot

The Heart Center Team Employs New Device to Remove High-Risk Blood Clot 1024 670 Emily Siebenmorgen

This first-in-pediatrics procedure was performed by Arash Salavitabar, MD, interventional cardiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. 

When a pediatric patient sought care for an accidental gunshot wound to the abdomen, a central line infection during his course at a large regional hospital led to a much more serious blood clot in his right atrium. His case became even more complicated in the context of his abdominal bleeding in the bowel; the patient couldn’t receive blood thinning medicine to treat the clot. With the complexity of this case, the patient was transferred to The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital where the cardiology team stepped in and introduced a first-in-pediatrics solution.

The patient’s clot was removed using the latest generation of AngioDynamic’s AlphaVac system in a procedure led and performed by Arash Salavitabar, MD, interventional cardiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. While the new device had been used successfully nationally in several adult patients since the latest model was released in May of 2022, this was the first pediatric use of the device in the United States.

“After we discussed this patient at our Heart Center Case Management Conference, we took a collaborative approach among subspecialists and our colleagues at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center,” Dr. Salavitabar says. “We often aim to utilize creative and innovative technologies to treat our pediatric population. We became aware of this newer option, and we were able to obtain it to perform the procedure that same day.”

Designed to aspirate clots out of vessels in the heart, the AlphaVac catheter has a tip that funnels out to engage and aspirate a blood clot.

“We were able to prevent this patient from requiring a more invasive open-heart surgery, for which he was a poor candidate for multiple reasons, by simply entering a vessel in his neck and using X-ray and echocardiography guidance,” Dr. Salavitabar explains. “As my colleague did an echocardiogram, I was able to direct the device to the clot. I used a mechanism outside the body to aspirate the clot and remove it from the body.”

Dr. Salavitabar explains that removing the clot this way also served as a preventative solution to keep the clot from traveling to other organ systems. The targeted and precise nature of the device took away a significant risk of the clot embolizing to the pulmonary arteries and, in some situations, could also prevent the risk of stroke.

With the success of this patient’s procedure and the minimal blood loss, Dr. Salavitabar believes they have produced a new option for pediatric patients experiencing similar complications.

“This case is a great example of how Nationwide Children’s uses new and innovative tools to lead the way in applying them to unique situations,” Dr. Salavitabar says. “Having the tools to treat these patients at The Heart Center is important so we can help these children and adults avoid being on blood thinners for a long period of time, needing surgery, or having complications from the clot itself.”

About the author

Science Communication Specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital | Website

Emily Siebenmorgen is a Science Communication Specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital with a passion for making research findings accessible. From her time writing at Battelle and AWRI's Center for Injury Research and Policy, she has experience distilling complex topics into simple takeaways for both professional and consumer audiences. Emily earned her BS in Psychology and BA in Strategic Communication from The Ohio State University.