It is estimated that one in 50 people in the United States will have a brain aneurysm in their lifetime; a condition that can prove fatal if the aneurysm ruptures within the skull. Emory neurosurgeons now have a device to treat patients with aneurysms that were once deemed untreatable.
Jacques Dion, MD, director of the division of Interventional Neuroradiology and professor of radiology and neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine, is among the first few physicians in the United States and the first in Georgia to use the new Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) to treat large or giant wide-necked aneurysms.
A cerebral aneurysm is a weak spot in the wall of a blood vessel within the brain, characterized by an abnormal ballooning or widening of the vessel. In the United States, a brain aneurysm ruptures every 18 minutes, and nearly half of these cases are fatal. Of those who survive, approximately half will never regain full physical function.
PED is intended for the treatment of adults 22 years of age or older with large or giant wide-necked intracranial aneurysms in the internal carotid artery, the major artery that supplies blood to the front of the brain. The metal device, ranging in size from just 10 to 35 mm, is placed across the neck — or opening of the aneurysm -— with the help of a catheter placed inside the blood vessel. This procedure redirects blood flow away from the aneurysm, causing the blood that remains in the aneurysm to form a clot that serves to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing.
Other existing techniques for treating wide neck aneurysms are often invasive, leading to longer hospital stays and greater risk for complications. They also could be used only on patients who are medically strong and able to withstand an open surgery.
“The Pipeline Device may offer improved patient results with a safer and more effective treatment of large or giant wide-necked aneurysms, which until now has been an unmet clinical need,” says Dion. “We now have both hope and a surgical tool for those patients who have had no other options for treating this often debilitating and even fatal medical condition.”