YOUR HEALTH: Dyeing to stay healthy

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – For people who have several health problems, fixing one can sometimes lead to problems with the other: especially if a patient has a medical condition affecting an important organ like the kidneys.

There is a new technology called DyeVert, which precisely controls and measures the amount of dye used in heart catheterizations and other procedures requiring imaging.

"I love her," says Vincent Bowlin about his mother Mary.

"She's the best mother.  I wouldn't want any other."

Vincent Bowlin, father of three with one on the way, is very concerned about his mom who's undergoing a heart catheterization.

Mary is also diabetic.   Her kidneys don't function fully, making the procedure, which uses contrast dye, a risky one.

"When someone needs multiple procedures, one after another, each procedure puts them at risk for furthering kidney damage," explained Dr. Anand Prasad, associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

"And so if we can save the contrast dye at each step, we can then prevent a worse outcome in terms of her kidneys."

Possible risks of complications include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding or bruising where the catheter was inserted
  • Blood clots or damage to the blood vessel where the catheter was inserted
  • Infection around the site
  • Problems with heart rhythm (usually temporary)

More serious, rare complications include ischemia or decrease in blood flow to the heart which may result in chest pains and even a heart attack. Sudden blockage of the coronary artery, a tear in the lining of the artery, stroke, and finally possible kidney damage from the dye used during the procedure are also possible. This risk of kidney failure as a result of the dye is especially high for those with poor or low kidney function.

Dr. Prasad was the first in the U-S to use Dyevert Plus, which precisely measures the right amount of contrast dye

"The dye itself is toxic to the kidneys and when someone has impaired renal function, they don't excrete the dye like they should, so it sits there causing more and more damage."

Dyevert uses Bluetooth wireless signals to give doctors real-time tracking of contrast dye, so patients aren't getting any more than they really need.

Dyevert Plus, made by Osprey Medical, received FDA clearance earlier this year.

The system is now being used at hospitals across the country.

If this story  has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.