New York Methodist Hospital Pipeline for Defeating Brain Aneurysms

Sep 25, 2014

Michael Ayad, MD, performs pipeline procedure to treat aneurysms at New York Methodist Hospital

Michael Ayad, MD, director of endovascular neurosurgery at New York Methodist Hospital, performs the "Pipeline" procedure using NYM's state-of-the-art biplane angiography suite.

A procedure now offered by the Department of Surgery and Institute for Neurosciences at New York Methodist Hospital (NYM) is giving new hope to patients with certain types of cerebral aneurysms-blister-like bulges in the wall of a blood vessel within the brain. NYM is one of only three hospitals in Brooklyn to offer the procedure, which incorporates the breakthrough "Pipeline" stent. NYM is also the only medical center in the borough where the procedure is performed by a physician who specializes in both neurosurgery and neurointervention.

"Telltale signs that a brain aneurysm may be present include blurred or double vision, a drooping eyelid, or localized headaches," said Miran Salgado, MD, chairman of neurosciences at New York Methodist. "Anyone with those symptoms or a strong family history of aneurysms should undergo evaluation by a physician, who may order imaging tests-such as CT (computerized tomography) scans, MRIs, or cerebral angiograms-to search for a possible aneurysm. The larger the untreated aneurysm, the more severe its symptoms can be. Large aneurysms are also more likely to rupture, which results in blood leaking through the blood vessels and into the space around or within the brain. Aneurysms can rupture without warning, causing sudden and acute onset of symptoms like severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and unconsciousness. The results can be debilitating or even fatal."

Michael Ayad, MD, leads New York Methodist Hospital

Michael Ayad, MD, leads New York Methodist Hospital's quarterly aneurysm support group.

It is crucial to diagnose aneurysms before they have a chance to rupture, and to then eliminate blood flow to them without disrupting normal blood flow within the brain. There are now a number of state-of-the-art, minimally invasive options available for the treatment of aneurysms that can dramatically reduce symptoms and risk of rupture, while requiring only a pea-sized incision in the patient's groin, instead of invasive neurosurgery through the skull. This avoids the longer recovery time, pain, and scarring patients may experience as part of surgery to treat a large brain aneurysm.

"The Pipeline stent is the latest tool in our arsenal of devices used to treat brain aneurysms," said Michael Ayad, M.D., NYM's director of endovascular neurosurgery, who performs the new procedure. "In our biplane angiography suite, we can use real time three-dimensional imaging of the patient's blood vessels to insert a catheter through a small incision in the leg, and then 'steer' it all the way into the brain to the precise spot where the aneurysm is located. The stent, which is made of a tightly-woven, flexible 'mesh,' is then placed through the catheter next to the aneurysm, and blocks blood flow into it, while also creating a 'tunnel' through which blood can safely travel to the rest of the brain. Eliminating blood flow to the aneurysm dramatically reduces the likelihood of symptoms or rupture."

"Cutting-edge medical devices and treatments are allowing us to continually break new ground in treating brain aneurysms," said Dr. Salgado. "For the six million Americans currently living with an unruptured aneurysm-a condition once feared to be a 'ticking time bomb'-there is now a better chance than ever of living a long and happy life. And they won't need scars to prove it."

To find a physician affiliated with New York Methodist Hospital's Institute for Neurosciences click here or call 866-DO-NEURO. NYM also offers a free quarterly support group for patients who are living with brain aneurysms. For more information, please call 718-246-8610.

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