Patient Stories

Pulmonary Embolism Survivors Treated with FlowTriever

Avid Runner Survives Massive Pulmonary Embolism 

Neal, 63, is an avid runner whose only experience being short of breath was typically at the end of half marathons. He knew something was not right when he suddenly became winded and lightheaded walking up and down the stairs of Cleveland home last year. Neal’s wife, Vicki, arrived home from dinner with friends to find him feeling faint and extremely short of breath before calling 911 where he was rushed in an ambulance to the local hospital.

 Shortly after a CT scan confirmed a massive pulmonary embolism in Neal’s right and left pulmonary arteries, he went into cardiac arrest twice, prompting doctors to put Neal on life support in attempt to save vital organs as the medical team prepared to transfer Neal to UH Cleveland Medical Center in Cleveland the following morning.

Dr. Mehdi Shishehbor, Interventional Cardiologist, and his team took over Neal’s care where his severe critical medical condition prevented traditional pulmonary embolism treatment options such as tissue plasminogen activators (tPA) and surgical embolectomy. Dr. Shishehbor decided to use FlowTriever Retrieval/Aspiration System, the first mechanical thrombectomy device indicated to treat pulmonary embolism, to remove the blood clots from Neal’s pulmonary arteries. This procedure was performed via a catheter in the groin and without the risks associated with tissue plasminogen activators (tPA). The procedure was successful, but Neal remained on life support fighting for his life for nearly a week after he collapsed at home. Three weeks after arriving at UH Cleveland Medical Center, Neal was discharged and returned home.

One year later, Neal has recovered from his massive pulmonary embolism. “I am very grateful FlowTriever was available to treat my pulmonary embolism. Due to my severe condition, alternative treatments would likely not have resulted in the same outcome and quality of life” Neal said about his treatment.

Husband Returns to Active Life After Pulmonary Embolism

Steve Booth, 63, had been feeling exhausted for several months which he attributed to the hot weather in Florida. He continued doing things around the house, but after taking out the garbage one day, he collapsed after walking back into his home. He was fortunate that his wife, Sara, a retired hospice nurse, heard him making unusual sounds and came over to help. Sara realized he had no heartbeat and was turning purple in his head and extremities. She immediately performed CPR and called 911. Steve was successfully resuscitated and was transported by EMTs to Winter Haven Hospital.

Upon arrival to the emergency department Steve underwent a CT scan of his chest which demonstrated blood clots in both lungs as well a “saddle” clot that spanned the connection between his left and right pulmonary arteries. He was diagnosed with massive pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition.

Drs. Kurt Gordon and David Mina were consulted to assist in Steve’s care. They decided to urgently remove the pulmonary clot using the FlowTriever Retrieval/Aspiration System. The procedure was performed via a catheter in the groin and without the risks of general anesthesia. During this ninety-minute procedure, over 30 separate clots were removed from his lungs. Within minutes, Steve could breathe easier and his heart function showed signs of improvement. He recovered quickly and was discharged from the hospital two days later.

One week after his procedure, Steve is doing well and enjoying time with his family. He feels better than he has in months. His biggest problem encountered is not being overly active. He has had no negative aftereffects and thanks the Lord for his outcome.