EKOS introduces sonic system for dissolving vascular blood clots

30 July 2008

EKOS Corporation has launched the EkoSonic Endovascular System (EkoSonic ES) with rapid pulse modulation (RPM) for the dissolution of vascular blood clots.

The company says the EkoSonic ES is the only endovascular system that can deliver microsonic energy and thrombolytic drugs simultaneously, providing a safer, faster and more complete way to remove clots by accelerating dissolution. The EkoSonic ES recently received FDA clearance.

Intermittent bursts of microsonic energy effectively increase the permeability of the clot to the thrombolytic four times faster than conventional catheter-directed thrombolysis with no evidence of thrombus breakage or hemolysis.

“Unlike mechanical devices, EKOS technology does not fracture the thrombus or damage red blood cells. Faster clot dissolution means a lower lytic drug dosage, resulting in fewer complications. Physicians can treat patients in less time, with even greater clinical confidence,” said Robert Hubert, EKOS president and CEO.

EkoSonic ES is also compatible with a new line of endovascular devices, EkoSonic Mach 4 Endovascular Device (Mach4). The Mach 4 was specifically created to be compatible with the RPM technology.

The Mach 4 offers a variety of treatment zone options. Each Mach 4 consists of a MicroSonic Core within an intelligent drug delivery catheter. This combination device enables the system to deliver microsonic energy and drugs simultaneously to accelerate clot dissolution. Reduction in time translates to fewer drugs, lowering the risk profile of the procedure while the convergence of technologies results in a safer, faster, more complete outcome in the treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and peripheral arterial occlusions (PAO).

Over the past three years, physicians have responded favourably after performing nearly 6,000 cases utilizing the EKOS technology. “We predict that the EkoSonic will become the new gold standard to treat patients with vascular thrombosis,” concluded Hubert.

Background to DVT and PAO

Deep venous thrombosis

The Vascular Disease Foundation (VDF) states that DVT occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in the large veins of the legs or pelvic area. Some DVT’s may cause no pain, whereas others can be quite painful. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, the majority of DVT’s are not life threatening. However, a blood clot that forms in the invisible 'deep veins' can be an immediate threat to your life, as compared to a clot that forms in the visible 'superficial' veins, the ones beneath your skin. A clot that forms in the large, deep veins is more likely to break free and travel through the vein. It is then called an embolus. When an embolus travels from the legs or pelvic areas and lodges in a lung artery, the condition is known as a 'pulmonary embolism', or PE, a potentially fatal condition if not immediately diagnosed and treated.

Peripheral arterial occlusion (PAO) disease

The arteries are the vessels in the body that supply oxygenated blood to the tissues. Acute peripheral arterial occlusion results in the sudden cessation of blood flow to an extremity of the body. The main cause of a sudden blockage of arteries leading to the extremities (peripheral arteries) is due to the local accumulation of cells (thrombus) and material within the artery or because a clot has been brought to a site by the blood stream (embolism). A common site for PAO disease is in the extremities.

Typically, the affected limb shows pallor, feels cold and becomes painful. The local nerves may become severely damaged, leading to paralysis (inability to move the limb). The lack of oxygen in the limb due to the obstruction of the artery can lead to gangrene (a loss of viable tissue). Restoring oxygen to the effected tissues requires fast and quick treatment of the affected artery. Reperfusion is important to minimize debilitating and potentially life-threatening negative outcomes.

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