Effective removal or dissolution of large blood clots remains a challenge in clinical practice, but scientists say a new surgical tool that is currently in development may help improve treatment.
Researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US have developed an intravascular microbubble-mediated sonothrombolysis device that uses low-frequency intravascular ultrasound to break down clots.
Unlike existing tools, the device allows better targeting of clots. It allows users to inject microbubbles at the site of the thrombus, making the ultrasound waves more effective.
In tests using synthetic blood vessels, the device dissolved 90 per cent of a clot in 3.5 to 4 hours, without any use of thrombolytic drugs.
“Our new ultrasound tool is forward-facing, like a drill, but still breaks down clots into very fine particles,” explained Xiaoning Jiang, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NCSU and corresponding author of the paper describing the work in Scientific Reports . “This is a successful proof of concept, and we’re now in the process of securing funding to move forward with trials in an animal model,” Jiang said.