A National Institutes of Health-sponsored study found that most patients with deep vein thrombosis should be treated with anticoagulant drugs alone, without a procedure-based intervention. However, the same study showed that a minimally-invasive catheter-director therapy, pharmacomechanical catheter-directed thrombolysis, provided greater initial pain relief and could prevent disability in DVT patients.
The research was presented today at the Society of Interventional Radiology‘s annual meeting. The Attract study compared the 2 treatment strategies for DVT in 692 patients and was supported by Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX), BSN Medical, Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) and Genentech.
The minimally invasive treatment, PCDT, removes clots using a tiny, millimeter-sized incision and clot-busting drugs along with catheter-driven devices.
Patients who received PCDT were less likely to develop post-thrombotic syndrome, according to the study, and the researchers concluded that patients with large blood clots are poised to benefit most from the minimally-invasive therapy.
“These findings allow health care professionals to make better decisions as to who may benefit from PCDT, ensuring that patient care teams deliver the best care, while reducing harm from unnecessary treatments,” principal investigator Dr. Suresh Vedantham said in prepared remarks. “Today’s health care environment is focused on delivering the right care for the right patient, and our results support this trend.”
The trial randomly assigned patients to 2 groups – the active treatment group received blood-thinners and PCDT and a control group received blood-thinning drugs alone. The results showed that post-thrombotic syndrome occurred with equal frequency in both groups, but DVT patients who received PCDT and blood-thinners were 25% less likely to develop moderate-to-severe post-thrombotic syndrome.
Vedantham also noted that the combination therapy provided greater pain relief and lessened swelling in the 1st 30 days of treatment compared to patients who only received drugs.