A cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin at St. David’s Round Rock recently became the first in Texas to perform a new procedure used to treat patients with blood clots in their lungs, according to a news release.


The new thrombectomy catheter system is meant to treat pulmonary embolisms, or a sudden blockage in the pulmonary arteries. It utilizes a flexible tube that a doctor can insert into the lung, locating and removing the clot by breaking it up and suctioning it out. This procedure is an alternative to medications like blood thinners to remove a clot.

Dr. Joshua McKay, an interventional cardiologist at the hospital, performed the first procedure in a trial to gain clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Quote of note

“Traditional treatment of pulmonary embolism uses medication to break the clot, which can take up to 24 hours to take effect,” McKay said in the news release. “This new minimally-invasive technology uses a flexible, self-expanding funnel to remove large blood clots, which may result in faster recovery times.”

The context

This is another step Heart Hospital of Austin at St. David’s Round Rock has taken recently to treat complex heart surgery procedures in Williamson County. The hospital opened a heart valve clinic last summer to offer specialized treatment for heart disease patients.

Pulmonary embolism affects as many as 900,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.