Busting Blood Clots in the Ambulance
Physicians announced today that tiny microbubbles are being used to more effectively deliver a blood clot busting drug to patients while they are in the ambulance during acute heart attack.
"Time is muscle," said Dr. Otto Kamp from VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands, stating that the quicker you deliver therapy the more heart muscle you will save.
Liquid suspensions of tiny gas microbubbles have traditionally been used as a diagnostic imaging tool. The microbubble suspensions are routinely used as ultrasound contrast agents to improve the clarity and reliability of an ultrasound image without exposing patients to ionizing radiation. The microbubbles are about a third the size of a red blood cell and, when they are injected into a patient's arm vein, they improve the clarity and accuracy of diagnostic ultrasound exams. The microbubbles are expelled from the body within minutes.
Dr. Kamp's findings move microbubbles from a diagnostic imaging use to an exciting therapeutic application. He used microbubblesalong with TPA, a drug that busts blood clots.When theinjected microbubbles reached the clot, increased ultrasound frequencies were applied to cause the microbubbles to burst. The burst bubbles create tiny holes in the clot,allowing the drug to workmore effectively in itstargeted location.