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UPMC Western Maryland Marks Pulmonary Care Milestone

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Ed DeWitt

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CUMBERLAND, Md. — The interventional radiology team at UPMC Western Maryland recently completed their 100th pulmonary thrombectomy. This milestone reflects the highly-skilled dedication of the interventional radiology team – who are on call and ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week — and celebrates the successful outcomes for patients suffering from life-threatening pulmonary embolisms (PE).  

A PE occurs when blood clots form — often in the deep veins of the legs — and travel through the blood stream blocking one or more of the arteries in the lungs. At UPMC Western Maryland, the interventional radiology team combines state-of-the-art equipment with years of experience to treat the conditions successfully and effectively. 

During a pulmonary thrombectomy, an interventional radiologist threads a catheter through the patient’s blood vessels to the site of the PE and extracts the blood clot using suction. The procedure is an improvement on decades old technology and results in consistently improved outcomes.  

“This is a common condition, and this procedure can save lives,” said John Pappas, M.D. “UPMC has embraced this new technology and has provided the resources for us to do this procedure. One of those new devices is the Inari FlowTriever system. It’s a better alternative than many of the options we had in our previous toolbox,” Dr. Pappas said.  

WM Pulmonary Milestone HR“Our interventional radiology team is fantastic,” said Michael Arata, M.D. “This procedure is highly specialized. The team has a tremendous amount of experience with this condition and has extensive training on the device used. This is a favorite procedure for us. We like having a huge influence on improving a patient’s outlook — both acutely and chronically. It is gratifying to combine technology and teamwork to positively impact patient outcomes.” 

This technology debuted at UPMC Western Maryland approximately two years ago and the team responsible for this lifesaving treatment is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The interventional radiologists at UPMC Western Maryland are all fellowship-trained, have more than 80 years of combined experience treating PEs and have performed more of these PE thrombectomies than any other hospital within a 100-mile radius of Cumberland.   

Because of UPMC’s expertise and commitment to providing this lifesaving technology, many smaller local hospitals transfer patients to UPMC Western Maryland for this treatment. A patient comes to the emergency department, is diagnosed with a clot, and experts perform the procedure within 24 hours. The procedure is often performed without using powerful clot busters, thus minimizing the bleeding risk, and decreasing the amount of time a patient needs to stay in the intensive care unit and the hospital. This new approach to treat PE also reduces the risk of death as well as long term heart and lung complications.  

Following discharge, the patient has follow-up appointments in the interventional radiology clinic, cardiac rehabilitation unit and is monitored by UPMC Western Maryland’s multidisciplinary team. This pulmonary thrombectomy technique has revolutionized the treatment of PE, and the Life Changing Medicine at UPMC Western Maryland continues to positively impact the local community. 

PHOTO DETAILS: (click image for high-res version)

CAPTION: The interventional radiology team at UPMC Western Maryland gathers after recently completing their 100th pulmonary thrombectomy.