New aneurysm-defeating procedure successful at McLaren

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 26, 2017

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MOUNT CLEMENS — Interventional neurologists at McLaren Macomb Hospital have successfully performed Macomb County’s first Pipeline Flex embolization, a minimally invasive neurological procedure for the treatment of brain aneurysms.

A McLaren doctor explained in a recent press release how the Pipeline is a specialized stent that is implanted in the brain to divert bloodflow, preventing the aneurysm from growing and allowing it to heal.

“It is critically important to divert continuous bloodflow into the aneurysm,” said Aniel Majjhoo, medical director of the neurosciences program at McLaren Macomb and the interventional neurologist who performed the procedure. “And when faced with the aneurysm, this is a favorable, minimally invasive and effective treatment option we now have available.”

An aneurysm is a thinning and weakening of the arterial wall, creating a balloon-like bulge. Bloodflow aids in the growth of the aneurysm, which increases the chances of rupture, sending blood into the brain and skull. A ruptured aneurysm causes a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is a severely life-threatening condition.

Performed by interventional neurologists utilizing the latest imaging technology, a mesh-like metallic alloy stent is placed across the neck of the aneurysm in the cerebral artery. This is performed via a minimally invasive procedure — tunneling a catheter from an artery in the groin to an artery in the brain. After the stent is placed, the embolization will naturally shrink the aneurysm over time, decreasing the chances of rupture.

“Traditional treatment options would have the neurologist working within the aneurysm,” Majjhoo said in the press release. “The delicate nature of the aneurysm makes flow diversion a favorable option.”

The patient, a 25-year-old woman from Roseville, had made an appointment with her family medicine physician complaining of frequent headaches. After diagnostic imaging testing, it was determined that she had an aneurysm that had dangerously progressed, nearing rupture.

Majjhoo placed the Pipeline in her brain. Six months after Majjhoo placed the Pipeline in the patient’s brain, diagnostic imaging confirmed that the aneurysm was gone, along with the symptoms it had caused.

McLaren officials report that an estimated 6 million Americans live with an unruptured cerebral aneurysm, with 30,000 cases rupturing each year. An extremely critical condition, ruptured aneurysms require immediate medical intervention and have a survival rate of 40-50 percent, with a 20 percent chance of recovery without permanent physical defects. Traditional treatments have included surgical clipping and endovascular coiling. Both remain viable options, as not all aneurysm patients are candidates for the Pipeline, experts say.

Some unruptured aneurysms may not present with any symptoms, while others will have symptoms of worsening headaches, numbness on one side of the face, double vision and drooping eyelids. Ruptured aneurysm symptoms, which require emergency medical care, include a sudden-onset severe headache described as the “worst headache ever,” nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, blurred and double vision, seizures, sensitivity to light, droopy eyelids, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

The introduction of the Pipeline Flex embolization comes with approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after successful clinical trials.

To learn more about neurosciences at McLaren Macomb, visit mclaren.org/macombneurology.

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