Northwell hospitals target pulmonary embolisms

Breathe easy: Cutting-edge tech (sans cutting) that's impressed in Europe is now targeting pulmonary embolisms at Southside Hospital.

Southside Hospital is now busting up blood clots with new tech that promises to shorten treatment time and reduce potential complications.

Joining several sister hospitals throughout the Northwell Health system, the Bay Shore facility is now packing the EkoSonic Endovascular System, flagship product of the Washington State-based Ekos Corp. and the only FDA-approved endovascular device – denoting surgical procedures that insert catheters through the skin to treat blood disorders – targeting pulmonary embolisms.

Those lung-based blood clots are deadly – “venous thromboembolism” claims between 60,000 and 100,000 American lives per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control – but the EkoSonic Endovascular System combines multiple technologies to offer a cutting-edge response, without all the cutting.

Break it down: The EkoSonic Endovascular System.

Break it down: The EkoSonic Endovascular System.

Its minimally invasive system uses ultrasound to guide a catheter directly to the clot, allowing surgeons to dissolve the obstruction “completely and accurately,” according to a Southside Hospital statement.

Southside becomes the latest Northwell Health hospital to employ the EkoSonic Endovascular System, which is already in play at New Hyde Park’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Manhasset’s North Shore University Hospital and Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

Puneet Gandotra, director of Southside Hospital’s cardiac catheterization laboratories, trumpeted the technology but credited its successful implementation to the hospital’s Pulmonary Embolism Response Team, which combines expertise from Southside’s surgical, critical care and pulmonary medicine units.

“Without a team effort, this program would not have come to fruition,” Gandotra said. “This device, along with the expertise of our team, has helped our patients rest assured that their clot will be targeted and dissolved with fewer side effects than other procedures.”

Ekos Corp, a subsidiary of UK-based BTG Interventional Medicine, received Food and Drug Administration approval for the EkoSonic Endovascular System in May 2014, after debuting the device overseas.

That marked the first FDA-approved pulmonary embolism treatment option since the federal administration greenlighted the drug tPA in 1990. The “tissue plasminogen activator” turns blood-cell plasminogen – essentially, an inactive enzyme – into plasmin, the major enzyme responsible for breaking down blood clots.