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Tuesday, May 26, 1998 Published at 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK

Health: Latest News

Heart device could clear blood clots

Vera Bowker's blood clot op means she can walk again

A 74-year-old Bristol woman has become the first in the world to benefit from a new treatment for blood clots.

Vera Bowker couldn't walk a month ago because of a clot in her leg caused by an ulcer. Her husband Morris was worried that the clot could have long-term effects on her health.

But her veins were so fragile that doctors could not risk intervening with traditional techniques.

Professor Michael Rees, a consultant in clinical radiology at the University of Bristol, decided to use a device he had developed to treat heart blockages.

The operation involved inserting a very fine wire into the affected area and vibrating it with the device.

[ image: Hair-thin wire is inserted in affected area]
Hair-thin wire is inserted in affected area
Professor Rees said: "When carrying out angioplasty, you try to make fine movements with your hands and I wanted to find a way to substitute these movements more efficiently using a mechanical helper."

The device, which has taken six years to develop, is now going into mass production.

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