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Home Industry News New technique developed to detect harmful blood clots

New technique developed to detect harmful blood clots

20th February 2008

Scientists have developed new techniques for detecting harmful blood clots and air bubbles (emboli) in arteries, which could reduce the risk of stroke.

They say the new technique could help to reduce the harmful effects on the brain that are a risk of open-heart surgery.

Researchers at the University of Leicester use Doppler ultrasound, the same technique used to detect the fetal heartbeat in pregnant women, to detect emboli.

They placed a ‘transducer’ on the side of the patient’s head in front of the ear that is able to detect the movement of emboli through blood vessels in the brain.

This technique is said to be painless and harmless and was used on patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy – an operation designed to remove narrowings in the main arteries supplying the brain before they can cause a stroke.

If emboli are detected by the device then measures can be taken to reduce or prevent the embolism occurring.

In some patients the technique is used for one or two hours post surgery, reducing the likelihood of the patient suffering a stroke.

Professor Naylor, consultant vascular surgeon, said: “The paradox with carotid endarterectomy is that although this is a proven operation for preventing stroke in the long term, it is also directly responsible for causing a stroke in a small number of patients in the peri-operative period.”

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