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Quick Fix for Aneurysm: February 9, 2014

Having a brain aneurysm can be like having a ticking time bomb inside your head. The danger is that it may unexpectedly burst. Causing cataclysmic injury or death.

“If you look at the data across the board, anywhere from 25-40% of patient will not survive an aneurysm rupture; many of those patients may not even make it to the hospital,” says Dr. Greg Velat, neurosurgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.

Of those who do make it, 50% will have permanent, long-term neurological damage. It reinforces the importance of repairing an aneurysm so it doesn’t rupture again. The newest way to do it is a procedure called ‘coiling’.

“The newer innovation involves putting coils in the aneurysm. And that's performed through a serious of catheters that are accessed thru the groin artery and then navigated into the aneurysm sack where the coils are then deployed. And that allows the aneurysm to clot off from the inside,” says Dr. Velat.

The coil is made of platinum; it looks like a tiny spring you might find inside a pen.

“You can see it’s very soft and pliable and it kind of has a preconfigured shape so as you deploy it, it kind of takes on these bends and turns,” says Dr. Velat.

Platelets stick to the metal and essentially fill the space, stopping blood flow to the aneurysm – 60 to 70% of aneurysms are now treated this way. 

Which is a dramatic reversal of a trend we saw maybe 10 years ago where mostly aneurisms were clipped.

The coiling technique is faster and less invasive than entering the skull surgically, which may improve long-term outcomes.