The HCM City University Medical Centre has combined surgical thrombectomy and venous stenting to treat deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in one of the deep veins in the body.

It was the first operation of its kind to be performed at a Vietnamese hospital.

Dr Le Thanh Phong, head of the hospital's vascular surgery unit, said that deep vein thrombosis had been previously treated by anti-coagulation medication.

However, according to some clinical studies, with this method of anticoagulation, only a part of the clot is destroyed. Thus the remainder of the clot in the vein can still obstruct blood from the extremities back to the heart, leading to painful and swollen legs and ulceration. Thus, a patients' quality of life is reduced.

In June 7, a 48-year-old patient from the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang was brought to the hospital for emergency aid for a painful and swollen left leg.

Based on the results of ultrasound and a CT scan, doctors diagnosed a blockage in a deep vein of the left leg, leading to high risk of necrosis (flesh death) if not treated in a timely fashion.

They performed an emergency surgical thrombectomy to remove a clot from a blood vessel and inserted a stent into a narrow vein.

This reduced the danger of the clot recurring. The patient recovered and she was discharged from the hospital.

Phong said that deep vein thrombosis in the legs could lead to pulmonary embolism and death.

He said that patients, if not treated immediately, could have post thrombotic syndrome and non-healing ulcerations which could reduce the quality of their life.

Dr Tran Minh Bao Luan, lecturer in vascular and thoracic surgery at the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, said if deep vein thrombosis was discovered within two weeks, it could be removed with an endovascular intervention, a minimally invasive procedure, or surgery, or a combination of the two.

There are many causes of deep vein thrombosis, including a family history of the disease or cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.-VNA