NECC: Saving people from rupturing brain aneurysms

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Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 4:20 AM CDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Thirty-thousand people will suffer a brain aneurysm this year; that’s one person every 18 minutes at risk of dying or suffering a stroke. Treating an aneurysm before it bursts is the only way to survive. Surgeons have a new way to save some of the hardest to treat patients.

“I started to get like delirious and dizzy. It felt like I had a migraine, but like there was a spoon digging outward,” said Daniel Reyes, a recent survivor of a brain aneurysm.

Catching it before it ruptures is key.

Right now, doctors use a surgical clipping, a tiny metal clip to stop blood flow to it, or endovascular coiling, which is a soft platinum wire coiled up inside the aneurysm that seals off the aneurysm. A pipeline flex embolization device patches the aneurysm from the inside, and now, NECC is a clinical trial using a newly developed patch to treat hard to reach brain aneurysms.

“So, think about they’re coming on the road. There’s a road going left going, right? The aneurysm is right on the middle of the fork, top of the fork,” Ricardo Hanel, MD, PhD, a neurosurgeon at Baptist Health of Northeast Florida, explained.

Dr. Hanel is the first physician in the U.S. clinical trial to use the contour neurovascular system to patch aneurysms that occur at the branching points of the arteries. The device is a nitinol mesh, shaped like a wine glass, or challis. The device cuts off the blood to an aneurysm that is in danger of rupturing.

“If you find aneurysms before it bleeds, you can prevent a stroke that is potentially catastrophic. It’s phenomenal when we find them before they bleed, and we can treat them safely and eliminate their risk of stroke,” Dr. Hanel mentioned.

Most brain aneurysms, if caught before rupturing, are found in a CAT scan or during an MRI. Some patients may experience headaches or dizziness, but most don’t feel anything until it ruptures. Women, particularly those over the age of 55, have a higher risk of rupture.

The contour system is in a clinical trial being performed in 20 neuro intervention centers across the country. It is not yet FDA approved, but it is already available in Europe and India.

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