Health Watch - Breakthrough Coma Reversal With Glue

April 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
If anyone can find beauty on a busy Los Angeles street, it's Algis Bliudzius. He savors life more ? since the day he almost lost it. "He gave me the last rites, and he blessed me, and I kissed his hand, and he left, and I felt pretty good about it," Bliudzius recalls.

But doctors at Cedars-Sinai weren't ready to give up on Bliudzius when he arrived in a coma, drifting in and out of consciousness. For two days, he'd complained of headaches. An MRI confirmed his doctor's suspicion -- a spontaneous spinal fluid leak.

"We do what's called a blood patch. We take some of their own blood and inject it into the space surrounding the spinal column," says Franklin Moser, M.D., a neuroradiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

When that didn't work, doctors decided to try glue normally used to close surgical incisions.

"It creates a great deal of scarring," Dr. Moser says.

With guidance from a CT scanner, doctors injected the glue through large needles, sealing off the leak in Bliudzius' upper back. The next day, he was conscious and after a few days, his headache was gone.

"It does sound strange, but miracles happen," Bliudzius says.

Doctors agree Bliudzius is lucky. The glue can cause an allergic reaction, but they say it's often worth the risk when surgery is not an option. This is one man who's glad they took the chance.

Spontaneous spinal fluid leaks are more common than doctors once thought. A headache is the major symptom. Doctors at Cedars-Sinai are now using the glue more often in patients with SFL. They've seen between a 30- and 50-percent success rate. Spinal fluid leaks can occur spontaneously or as a result of a spinal tap.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Nilou Salimpour
Public Relations
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
salimpourn@cshs.org
Los Angeles, CA
(310) 246-9889


Load Comments