Stuffing Brain Aneurysms

FRESNO, Calif.

As many as three percent of them will suffer potentially dangerous bleeding in the brain. Now, doctors can repair these aneurysms with a procedure so minimally invasive, it doesn't even require a scalpel.

For years, Candace De-Laney has shared her love for books with her daughter Cieara. Recently, they feared their time together was running out.

Candace was rushed to the hospital with a ruptured brain aneurysm.

"When the ambulance came, they told me my blood pressure was 252 over 152, and after that I was out. I thought I was leaving this Earth," Candace told Ivanhoe.

"I thought I was about to lose my mother. I thought this was my last day seeing her alive," Cieara added.

"When an aneurysm is ruptured, there's a high likelihood that it ruptures again, and if it does rupture again, there's a very high likelihood that that rupture is worst than the first and often fatal," Colin Derdeyn, M.D., Interventional neuro-radiologist at Washington University School of Medicine, said.

Traditional treatment means cutting open the skull and clamping the aneurysm shut from the outside. Candace was treated less invasively. A catheter carries tiny platinum coils into the bulge to close it off from inside the blood vessel.

"What you're doing with the coil, you're stuffing the aneurysm from the inside with something that's going to change the flow inside the aneurysm," Ricardo Hanel, M.D., Ph.D., Endovascular neuro-surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., explained.

A stent placed in the weakened vessel keeps the coils in place, creating a fence inside the blood vessel that supports the repair.

Now, Candace is enjoying the next chapter in a healthier life. She doesn't want to miss a single page.

"I'm not letting no grass grow under my feet. Whatever I can do, I'm gonna do," Candace concluded.

Smoking and high blood pressure can increase your risk of having a brain aneurysm. They're most commonly detected in patients ages 35 to 60, and women are more likely to get them than men. One half to two-thirds of brain aneurysms can be treated with the newer, less invasive approach, but some still require open brain surgery for an effective repair.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Melissa Medalie at mmedalie@ivanhoe.com

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