Dissolution of peripheral arterial thrombi by ultrasound.
BACKGROUND We have previously shown that continuous-wave ultrasound can rapidly dissolve human thrombi in vitro, with 99% of all residual particles measuring less than 10 microns in diameter. To assess the effects of pulsed-wave ultrasound energy on whole blood clots, 1) in vitro studies were preformed to assess precisely the rates of clot disruption and to quantify particulate size, and 2) in vivo studies were performed to assess the efficacy and safety of catheter-delivered ultrasound for intra-arterial thrombus dissolution.
METHODS AND RESULTS In vitro, we studied 50 samples of human whole blood clots and using an 89-cm-long wire probe, applied pulse-wave energies from 8 to 23 W. The corresponding peak-to-peak tip displacement range was 63.5 - 102 microns. We studied arterial thrombosis in vivo in 21 canine superficial femoral arteries. To produce an acute thrombosis, 200 units of thrombin followed by 2 ml of 72-hour-old autologous clot were injected into a 5-7-cm segment of femoral artery and left to coagulate for 2 hours. Ultrasound energy was intermittently applied at a frequency of 20 kHz with a prototype ultrasound wire ensheathed in a catheter and directed to clots by fluoroscopy. In nine cases, angioscopic guidance was used to put the probe into direct contact with the intra-arterial thromboses. In vitro clot dissolution times were inversely related to the ultrasound power output (r = 0.95). All in vivo canine thromboses were disrupted in 4 minutes or less. All successful recanalizations were confirmed by angiography and in nine cases by angioscopy as well. Angioscopy demonstrated that probe activation caused rapid clot disruption. Histological studies of the vessels showed no evidence of thermal or cavitation injury, occlusive distal embolization, or perforation.
CONCLUSIONS Our findings in this experimental canine model suggest that ultrasound clot dissolution has the potential to be an effective and safe alternative to current treatment modalities for peripheral arterial thrombosis.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association