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Glue To The Rescue! Saving Lauren's Life

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FLORIDA - BACKGROUND:  A brain aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain.  It can leak or rupture, causing bleeding into the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).  Usually a ruptured brain aneurysm occurs in the space between the brain and the thin tissues covering the brain.  This type of hemorrhagic stroke is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.  When an aneurysm ruptures prompt medical attention is needed.  However, most aneurysms do not rupture, cause symptoms, or create health problems.  (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)

SYMPTOMS:  A severe headache that comes on suddenly is the key symptom of a ruptured aneurysm.  It is often described as the “worst headache” ever experienced.  Other symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm can include: nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, stiff neck, seizure, confusion, sensitivity to light, drooping eyelids, and loss of consciousness.  In some cases, an aneurysm can leak a small amount of blood into the brain, called sentinel bleeding.  It can cause the sudden, extremely severe headache too.  A severe rupture usually follows leaking.  An aneurysm that is not ruptured may not produce any symptoms if it’s small, but a large one can press on brain tissues and nerves causing: a dilated pupil, a dropping eyelid, change in vision, numbness or paralysis on one side of the face, and pain above and behind an eye.  (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)

NEW TECHNOLOGY:  Aneurysms can be detected and treated before they rupture, usually with minimally-invasive endovascular coiling or surgical clipping.  Surgery involves placing a small metal clip around the aneurysm to isolate it from normal blood circulation.  It will decrease the pressure on the aneurysm and will prevent it from rupturing.  Surgery will depend on the size of the aneurysm and the general health of the patient.  In the endovascular procedure, the aneurysm is first assessed by inserting a catheter into an artery in the patient’s leg into the head.  Tiny platinum coils are threaded into the catheter into the aneurysm until all of the space inside it is full.  The coils block blood flow and prevent it from rupturing.  This method is great for smaller aneurysms.  For larger ones that have a high rate of recurrence, the coils cannot fill the vessel.  Now, doctors use Onyx to fill them.  Onyx is a thick black substance that turns solid when it is exposed to blood.  It is an ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer that was FDA approved in 2007.  Onyx is injected into the brain through a catheter.  Whenever the aneurysm is filled, the procedure is complete. (Source: www.bafound.org)

Dr. P. Roc Chen used this treatment for arteriovenous malformation (AVM), or abnormal connection of blood vessels.  When AVM occurs, a tangle of blood vessels in the brain bypasses normal brain tissue and directly diverts blood from the arteries to the veins.  More than 50% of patients with an AVM have an intracranial hemorrhage.  Patients can have localized pain in their heads due to increased blood flow around an AVM.  Fifteen percent of AVM patients might have trouble with movement, vision, and speech.  During treatment, doctors place a catheter inside the blood vessels that supply the AVM and block off the abnormal blood vessels.  Then the Onyx, micro coils, and particles are used to stop blood flowing to the AVM.  Treatment, of course, will depend on the symptoms the patient is having, the type, size, and location of the AVM.  (Source: www.strokeassociation.org)