As part of its effort to highlight its 2012-13 class, the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana has selected its August Innovators of the Month.
The honorees are a physician team that not only saved a patient’s life, but deployed a therapy to break up clots in lungs used only three times in the world
The team members are Drs. Michael Nicholas, David Bruce Braunstein and Michael R. Nuyles. This procedure on a then 82-year old patient was performed at Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospital in Dyer. Nuyles, then a cardiology fellow, is now at the Rush Copley Center and Presence Mercy Provena Hospital in Aurora.
Michael A. Nicholas, an interventional cardiologist who led the procedure, said the feeling after seeing the clot disappear in both lungs was "like winning the Stanley Cup.” He explained, “It was great to see the patient respond so well, but it was also a good feeling to use a procedure that only a few others had done.”
Braunstein had made the diagnosis and recommended immediate action to “save this patient’s life.” Nuyles assisted in the procedure.
At the time, Dr. Nicholas had used the Clearway catheter successfully to eliminate clots in legs and hearts, but never in lungs. So when he had the idea to use the therapy in a new way, he consulted with the patient’s physician.
Braunstein agreed, “We had no choice,” he recalled. The benefit, Nicholas explained, is that Clearway delivered the drug directly to the clot, and that standard therapy would take too long. Another benefit is the catheter balloon inflated and “mechanically” helped disperse the clot.
Before performing the procedure, Nicholas called the manufacturer and learned it had been used in lungs “only three times in the world.” He then called the radiologist who had performed two procedures successfully, and confident in this approach, he performed the procedure which had immediate positive results. This procedure won the “Best Challenging Case” award at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular
Therapeutics Conference and has been the subject of articles in medical journals. Nicholas said he has used this procedure 10 times on other patients to break up clots in lungs, and it has been widely used everywhere. “We’re just glad this helped the patient, “ Braunstein said. “ That’s all that matters!”
The society is part of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest.
For more information, call O'Merrial Butchee, director of the Lamkin Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, assistant director, at (219) 981-1111, ext. 2292.