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Doctors publish paper on new blood clot removal system
Hinsdale – A group of vascular and interventional radiologists at Adventist Midwest Health is one of the first in the world to publish a study of the benefits associated with the use of the AngioVac® blood clot removal system for iliocaval thrombosis.

The paper, titled “Vacuum-Assisted Thrombectomy Device (AngioVac) in the Management of Symptomatic Iliocaval Thrombosis,” was written by Drs. Steven J. Smith, George Behrens, Luke E. Sewall and Michael J. Sichlau and published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology this month.

The four doctors are members of Adventist Health Partners, the medical group affiliated with Adventist Midwest Health.

The AngioVac system works much as a vacuum might, Sewall said. A line is run up to a clot, and another return line is run into a healthy vein in the patient. While a bypass pump works, a filter in the AngioVac line catches and holds the clot, while the patient’s blood is recirculated back to the body. The system is designed to treat clots in larger veins, such as iliac veins in the pelvis and the vena cava.

In their paper, the doctors studied three patients with blood clots who were experiencing swelling in their legs.

Standard treatment of their clots proved ineffective. The AngioVac successfully cleared out the clotted areas, and following the procedure, each patient showed marked improvement.

All three patients studied were treated at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

Sewall was the first in Illinois to remove a blood clot using this system, in spring of 2013 at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

“That first patient I worked with had an extensive clot, one that is not treated in many hospitals,” Sewall said. “Most places would leave this patient with swollen and incapacitated legs, rendering her unable to work for the rest of her life.”

This patient had clotting in both of her legs, running up her main vein into her abdomen, just a few inches below her heart. After initial standard therapy failed, attempts to dissolve the clots with more medication became risky because of an increasing chance of bleeding.

Rather than leave the woman incapacitated, doctors decided to use the AngioVac, and the patient’s clots were successfully removed.


Adventist Health Partners is a physician group offering primary and specialty care in over 70 convenient locations serving Cook, DuPage, and Will counties. Our goal is provide excellent service and the highest quality of medical care to you and your family. Visit our website at for more information and to find an Adventist Health Partner physician.

Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit

Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.

Media contact: Chris LaFortune, communications specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; (630) 856-2354.