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New Treatment for Pulmonary Embolism

Have you heard of pulmonary embolism (PE)? It’s a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs.

In most cases, PE is caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs or other parts of the body, which is known as deep vein thrombosis.
These clots contribute to 100,000 deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lexington Medical Center now offers a new treatment option for patients suffering from PE — the EKOS EkoSonic® Endovascular System.

With this system, interventional cardiologists can deliver lower doses of thrombolytic, or clot-busting, medicines directly into the clots. Ultrasound pulses in the system are used to fragment the clot, helping the clot-busting drug to more effectively “melt” it away.

Massive PE diagnosed by computed tomography

Massive PE diagnosed by computed tomography

EKOS catheter inserted through the clot

EKOS catheter inserted through the clot

“While systemic thrombolysis relies on blood flow, which is very limited in completely blocked vessels, to deliver a larger dose of thrombolytic drug to the intact surface of the clot, catheter-directed thrombolysis uses catheters placed directly through the clots to deliver smaller doses of thrombolytic drug right into the middle of the clots,” said Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC, FSCAI, at Lexington Cardiology.

Dr. Leonardi talked about the procedure on WLTX recently.


“Catheter-directed thrombolysis helps patients recover from life-threatening PE more quickly and more completely by providing most or all of the benefit of full-dose, systemic thrombolysis with substantially less bleeding risk,” said Dr. Leonardi.

LMC performed its first catheter-directed thrombolysis for PE last year.

Risk Factors for Pulmonary Embolism
Even though anyone can develop blood clots and pulmonary embolism, certain factors increase your risk.

•Medical history
•Heart disease
•Certain cancers
•Prolonged immobility, such as bed rest and sitting during travel
•Surgery
•Smoking
•Obesity
•Supplemental estrogen, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy
•Pregnancy

Five Things to Know About the Zika Virus

The Zika Virus has become a major concern for the the World Health Organization. The mosquito-borne illness may be linked to birth defects including microcephaly in newborns. Dr. Samantha Morton of Carolina Women’s Physicians, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, was a guest on WLTX to talk about what moms-to-be in South Carolina need to know about this virus.


Here are some notes from Dr. Morton’s interview:

1. The Zika Virus is transmitted by a mosquito that has previously bitten someone who has the virus.

2. While the mosquito that can carry the Zika Virus is in South Carolina, no patients have been diagnosed with the Zika Virus from a mosquito that has bitten them in the United States.

3. There is some evidence that the Zika Virus may be responsible for causing some birth defects including microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s brain does not grow properly during pregnancy. But so far, there is no definitive link.

4. The only people who need to be concerned right now are individuals who have traveled to areas that are endemic for the Zika Virus, including South America, Central America and Mexico. for this particular virus. If you have symptoms, talk to your health care provider.

5. Pregnant women should avoid travel to the countries where cases have been diagnosed.

For more information about the Zika Virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Losing Weight with Orbera

With our fast-paced lives, losing weight can be easier said than done. Between keeping up with busy work schedules, children’s activities and daily housework, eating healthy and exercising can become an obstacle and challenge.

This illustration shows how Orbera is placed in the stomach.

This illustration shows how Orbera is placed in the stomach.

That’s where a new weight-loss procedure at the South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, comes in. It’s called Orbera, and Lexington Medical Center is the first hospital in the Southeast to offer it.

“Orbera is ideal for people who are 25 to 60 pounds overweight, and who need a jump start to begin to lose weight and improve their health,” said Marc Antonetti, MD, FACS, surgeon with the South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center.

Orbera is a soft, silicone balloon with saline that’s designed to fit comfortably in your stomach. Its volume and shape are meant to take up space in the stomach, which encourages portion control by making you feel full and giving you the edge to finally lose weight.

This video shows how it works.

Doctors place Orbera in the stomach through a simple, non-surgical, outpatient procedure completed under sedation. There is no incision and patients can go home the same day. In fact, the FDA-approved procedure only takes 20 to 30 minutes.

Orbera is a tool that will remain in place for six months. During that time, patients receive comprehensive education from clinicians and dietitians at the South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center about healthy eating, including information about nutritious foods, portion size and meal planning. They are monitored on a routine basis.

The South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center physicians: Marc C. Antonetti, MD, FACS; S. Gray Hughes, MD, FACS; Glen F. Strickland, MD, FACS

The South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center physicians: Marc C. Antonetti, MD, FACS; S. Gray Hughes, MD, FACS; Glen F. Strickland, MD, FACS

“About 60 percent of the United States population is a candidate for this procedure – because they need to lose between 25 and 60 pounds,” said Dr. Antonetti. “Our goal is to reach out to teach people about appropriate nutrition and prevent them from becoming morbidly obese.”

In addition to making patients feel full and causing weight loss, Orbera will condition patients to eat smaller meals and require less food. After six months, the balloon is removed. By that time, patients have established healthy lifestyle choices to continue to lose weight and keep it off.

Losing weight is important for cardiovascular and overall health. There are many options available at Lexington Medical Center.

For more information about Orbera, visit SCObesity.com.