Baptist Health First In State to Offer Clot Vacuuming Alternative to Surgery

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Patients who would have previously required surgery to remove blood clots now have a safer, minimally invasive alternative at Baptist Health. Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock was the first hospital in the state to use a device called the AngioVac to more easily extract potentially lethal blood clots from a patient.

Dr. David Hays, an Interventional Radiologist at Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock, recently performed the first AngioVac procedure on a patient who had a clot in one of the large veins leading to her heart.

“To now be able to help a patient who could not tolerate existing treatments and who would be at increased risk for surgery for a medical issue that could be potentially life-threatening, as well as cause terrible worry and stress, is priceless,” said Dr. Hays. “The AngioVac is a new and extraordinary tool in our quest to use less invasive ways to heal our patients.”

This is how the procedure works: The physician guides a thin tube through a vein in the neck centrally until it reaches the clot. The tube is also connected to a powerful heart-bypass pump, which in turn is connected to an additional catheter placed within a vein in the groin or neck. Once the tube is in place and the AngioVac is activated, the device quickly pulls out the clots. The filtered blood is then returned to the patient. The procedure usually lasts between one to three hours.

Typical surgery for the removal of these large central clots carries significant risks and often requires the surgeon to divide the breast bone to gain access to these veins, which can add significant time to the patient’s rehabilitation.

Baptist Health is the state’s most comprehensive healthcare system. With more than 175 points of access, including eight hospitals, Baptist Health is committed to delivering “All Our Best” in healthcare to the people of Arkansas. For more information about the AngioVac or our other heart services, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or visit our website at