World first as grandmother has life-saving 'mini sieve' fitted near her heart to catch deadly clots after surgery
Doreen Carter had the device fitted in a major vein near her heart
It consists of a titanium mesh that acts like a fishing net to catch blood clotsDoctors believe it could prevent thousands dying from clots after surgery
16:44 GMT, 5 March 2013
16:50 GMT, 5 March 2013
A British grandmother has become the first person in the world to be fitted with a life-saving 'miniature sieve' to prevent blood clots.
Doreen Carter, 80, was fitted with the revolutionary device by doctors at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading during a 15-minute procedure.
The surgery involves inserting a specially-designed titanium filter via a catheter into a major vein that carries blood to the heart.
Mrs Carter said it was 'a privilege' to be the first patient to undergo the procedure
Once inserted into the inferior vena cava – the wire mesh or cage is inflated and acts to catch any clots before they travel to the lungs.
Doctors believe the procedure could prevent thousands dying from blood clots after surgery.
Mrs Carter, from Wokingham, had the device put in on Thursday following a major bowel operation.
She said it was 'a privilege' to be the first patient to undergo the procedure.
'I’m quite happy everyone knows what they’re doing and I just let them get on with it,' she added.
Carl Waldmann, a consultant at the hospital, said patients can be at
higher risk of blood clots following surgery but using anti-clotting
drugs could be risky.
However, other measures to catch clots also carry risks because they are difficult to insert and remove.
He said the new device 'is something we can put in for a limited number of days and easily take out.'
Intensive care unit nurse Abby Brown, 35, pictured with the device – a titanium wire inside an 18-inch-long tube
Pulmonary embolisms – blood clots which reach the lungs – kill an estimated 25,000 people a year in the UK.
A spokesperson for Royal Berkshire Hospital said: 'We are one of seven hospitals who are taking part in the project – six in the UK and one in Belgium.
'We didn’t expect to be the first in the world – our ICU team had only received their training a few hours prior to Doreen arriving in the unit following her surgery.
'They realised that she could benefit from being fitted with the device so, after discussions with her, it was decided to go ahead.'
One of the nurses involved in the procedure, Ellen Bowley, said: 'I’m really proud to have been part of the team and hopefully this will be of real benefit to a great many patients in the future.'
Surgeons at The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading had received their training in fitting the device a few hours before Mrs Carter was put forward for the procedure
Dr Carl Waldmann added: 'With the existing devices patients had to be taken down for a specialist procedure with could take up to three hours in total.
'Obviously, moving patients from intensive care is something we try to avoid.
'This new procedure can be carried out within an hour of the patient arriving in intensive care and takes only 15 minutes.'
Doreen had the device removed yesterday afternoon – five days after it was installed as she no longer needs it.