An experimental surgical device now being tested at Johns Hopkins and a few other U.S. hospitals can prevent potentially lethal blood clots from lodging in the lung. The Tempofilter is a cone-shaped set of metal fingers designed to catch clots in the vena cava, the large vein that drains the body's blood back into the heart.
Johns Hopkins radiologist Dr. Anthony Venbrux says it saved a motorcycle accident patient whose severely fractured pelvis was dumping dangerous clots into the bloodstream.
Because of his multiple injuries from the motorcycle accident he couldn't be anticoagulated and therefore was at risk for those clots propagating, breaking off, and going up into his lungs and killing him. We then put in the filter and lo and behold three weeks later when he was out of risk, we found caught in the fingers in the cava a large clot. We were then able to remove that with the filter intact and protect him.
The device has been extensively tested in Europe with good results.