St. Mary Medical Center first in High Desert to use device to safely extract blood clots

By Staff Reports

(Apple Valley) – Short of breath and feeling strain on her heart, Marilyn Blue was in critical condition when she was rushed to Providence St. Mary Medical Center facing where she faced a daunting diagnosis: acute pulmonary embolism – a large and potentially deadly blood clot in her lung. 

She’d been sick for a week and twice misdiagnosed at other facilities. Now in the St. Mary emergency department her oxygen was dangerously low, her heart was racing. 

It was then Marilyn Blue, 74, of Hesperia, agreed to become the High Desert’s first patient to undergo thrombectomy, a minimally invasive procedure where a thin flexible tube called a catheter is inserted and maneuvered to remove clots before they rupture.

Vascular and interventional radiology specialists Youhanna Gad, M.D., and Vinay Yagnik, M.D., performed the 52-minute procedure. Their patient began her quick recovery on the table, where her heart rate and blood pressure returned to normal. She went home the next day!

“It saved my life,” Blue said. “I’m so glad they have this technology in the High Desert, and I’m so grateful to the doctors, to the whole team.” Drs. Gad and Yagnik were on either side of her, each holding one of her hands, she said.

“They were so kind and compassionate and walked me through the whole thing,” she said. “And I was home the next day!” 

Dr. Gad urged the remote hospital to invest in the Inari Medical FlowTriever, designed to remove blood clots through both mechanical and aspiration mechanisms, eliminate the need for clot-busting medications or blood thinners and keep patients out of intensive care units. Without the device, Blue would have been transferred, likely to Loma Linda University Medical Center, or given powerful anti-coagulant “blood thinner” medication, which carries risks that include the possibility of  serious bleeding.

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