When 45-year-old Reginald T. went to bed on a Monday night, he had no reason to believe the mild chest pain he was feeling was anything more than heartburn.
But when he awoke the next morning, it was still there. And now there was a new concern: Even after a good night’s sleep, Reginald was exhausted. He was so tired that just walking from his bed to the bathroom drained every ounce of energy he had.
A father of 7, Reginald told his family he was going back to bed. He slept straight through to Wednesday morning. When he woke up this time, his chest pain was unbearable. This was not heartburn.
A Serious Diagnosis
Reginald drove himself to the emergency room at nearby Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus, where a CT scan found two blood clots in his lungs and one in his left leg.
Although clotting is a natural process, a clot that forms in a vein and does not dissolve can be a problem. In Reginald’s case, the clots were blocking blood flow to both of his lungs — a potentially life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.
Reginald was quickly moved to Temple University Hospital – Main Campus where various treatment options were discussed with him. But all the options — such as blood-thinning drugs or clot-busting drugs delivered through an IV — carried the risk of internal bleeding or might not clear all the clots.
The Temple medical team had another option — an advanced catheter device that could deliver clot-busting drugs directly to the site of the clots. This would dissolve the clots and quickly restore blood flow to Reginald’s lungs.
The device is called the BashirTM Endovascular Catheter*, invented by Temple’s own Riyaz Bashir, MD, Director of Vascular and Endovascular Medicine. Temple Pulmonologist Parth Rali, MD, performed the minimally invasive procedure. This was the first use of the catheter in the United States.
Dr. Rali explained my treatment options very clearly and thoroughly. The clot-busting catheter seemed to give me the best chance for a fast recovery. – Reginald
A Whirlwind Week
Four days after surgery, and a week after the onset of his symptoms, Reginald was back at work as a patient transporter at another local hospital.
“I’m walking all day long, and I feel like I never missed a beat,” he says. “I could run a mile right now.”
Reginald was prescribed a blood thinner following surgery, and he’ll continue to be closely monitored by Dr. Rali. He says his recovery from the procedure was virtually painless, though he credits his nurses and doctors as much as the procedure itself.