Saturday, May 19, 2018

Leech therapy for venous congestion

Today, I came to know that leeches are a well-recognized treatment for congested tissue :O

When this image was sent to me, I thought it was an infestation. After reading about it though, it was clarified that the leech was put deliberately by the plastic surgeons to treat venous congestion (hirudotherapy). 



Once the leech has become sufficiently big, it is detached and replaced with another leech.

Leech therapy is usually initiated after failure of more conventional treatment modalities such as warming, aspirin, rheomacrodex (i.v.), immobilization and elevation of the injured area, and use of local heparin and vasodilators to improve venous status.

Hirudotherapy is used until venous capillary return is established across the wound border by angiogenesis.
The patients may lose 5–15 mL of blood per leech, per session.

Read more: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2014/205929/

Image submitted by Anonymous surgeon, A.

Pharmacology correlate: Leeches have an enzyme in their saliva called hirudin, a powerful anticoagulant. They produce this to prevent their host from forming a clot so that they can feast on blood more easily.

Nature is so cool!

-IkaN

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