Botox to bloodflow: New help for MS patients

FRESNO, Calif.

It's an autoimmune disease that targets the brain and nervous system.

"I've been trapped in an old person's body - forever. I was 25 years old when I was diagnosed with MS," Barbara Garcia told Action News.

Twenty years later, Barbara Garcia couldn't move without help.

"It was like why me?" Garcia explained.

Garcia had a narrowing in the jugular veins. She was one of the first MS patients to have a venoplasty. Dye is injected into the jugular veins to locate the narrowed area. A balloon is inserted into the vein and inflated to restore blood flow from the brain.

"She started showing improvement on the table," Bulent Arslan, M.D., an associate professor of radiology at the University of South Florida, told Action News.

"After four hours of recovery he said let's see if you can walk and sure enough I was able to get up and walk around the bed," Garcia said.

While Audrey Mirels does use a wheelchair, at times it's not her walking that bothered her it was another side effect of MS that was holding her hostage.

"I was making the bathroom my world. I was going every two minutes," Mirels, an MS patient, told Action News.

Thousands of MS patients suffer from incontinence and overactive bladder. The first line of defense is oral medication but if that doesn't work, the FDA has recently approved Botox.

"I said enough is enough," Mirels explained.

"The Botox basically relaxes the spastic muscles nature," Farzeen Firoozi, M.D., a urologist at the Arthur Smith Institute for Urology in New Hyde Park, NY, told Action News.

Patients receive 10 to 30 injections into the bladder wall. The Botox starts working within a week and lasts for up to nine months.

"I don't have to go to the bathroom that much and I sleep through the night," Mirels concluded.

While neither of these procedures are a cure, a majority of patients for both say their lives were changed after they had it.

For more information, contact:

Kristen M. Longo
Public Relations Specialist
LIJ Health System
(516) 465 -2607

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