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Breakthrough Treatment for Brain Aneurysms

Image: Breakthrough Treatment for Brain Aneurysms

By    |   Friday, 21 Aug 2015 01:23 PM

When Kathy Gibson first had surgery to treat a potentially deadly cranial aneurysm in the 1980s, she endured a precarious procedure that involved cutting open her skull and tying off the growth with a tiny titanium clamp.

The operation was risky and recovery took months.

Last fall, doctors discovered another aneurysm in her brain, but this time she was fortunate to be part of a clinical trial to test a new device called the WEB.

The surgery took barely two hours and she was up and about almost immediately. Pain and recovery time was minimal.

“It was amazing,” Gibson tells Newsmax Health. “I was able to go out shopping with my sisters the next night. The cranial surgery I went through in the 1980s required a long recuperation.

“There is no comparison.”

The WEB is the brain child of Sequent Medical of Aliso Viejo, Calif. Its full name is the WEB Aneurysm Embolization System, vice president of marketing Andrew Hykes tells Newsmax Health.

“Unlike more invasive procedures, the WEB is an endovascular treatment. This means that it is performed by inserting it with a catheter that threads up through an artery from the groin and into the brain. It’s specifically made for aneurysms that are wide-necked or appear near a T-junction in an artery,” he says.

A cranial aneurysm is a weak spot on a blood vessel that balloons and fills with blood. If it ruptures, it can cause brain damage or death.

An estimated 6 million people in the United States — 1 in 50 — have an unruptured brain aneurysm.

Some 30,000 Americans suffer ruptured aneurysms each year, according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

Of those who suffer a ruptured aneurysm, 40 percent do not survive the first 24 hours and another 25 percent die of complications within six months.

Of those who survive, about 66 percent suffer permanent neurological damage.

Unruptured aneurysms usually have no symptoms but are found when doing brain scans for other reasons.

WEB can be used on unruptured or ruptured aneurysms.

Since time is of the essence, the new WEB device gets top marks for fast implantation, says a leading neurosurgeon.

Vineeta Singh, M.D., associate professor of neurology at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, calls the WEB a “lifesaver.”

“The WEB is a mesh-like device that is made to emulate the size and shape of the aneurysm,” Dr. Singh tells Newsmax Health.

“Once it is inserted, it molds itself to the aneurysm, filling the spaces and instantly clotting the blood, thus saving time and potentially, lives.

And unlike the coil technique, it can’t fall out. This is especially useful in large aneurysms.

“The mesh quiets the normal turbulence of blood flow within the aneurysm almost instantly and creates a blood clot which prevents the flow of new blood into the aneurysm.”

The WEB device is comprised of a MicroBraid mesh made of nitinol, an alloy of nickel and titanium used in surgical settings because of its ability to hold its shape.

“Right now we’re making the WEB in two shapes: a spherical and barrel shape,” says Hykes. “Once the WEB is inserted into the aneurysm and deployed, it retains its original shape.”

The WEB is not widely available in the United States because it hasn’t yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But it is currently in use in clinical trials in the U.S.

If you or a loved one suffer from an aneurysm, you can ask your doctor for clinical trial enrollment information.

The full version of this article appeared in Health Radar newsletter. To read more, click here.

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When Kathy Gibson first had surgery to treat a potentially deadly cranial aneurysm in the 1980s, she endured a precarious procedure that involved cutting open her skull and tying off the growth with a tiny titanium clamp. The operation was risky and recovery took months....
aneurysm, brain, treatment, web, device
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2015-23-21
Friday, 21 Aug 2015 01:23 PM
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