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Adding a Stent May Help Resolve Brain Aneurysm

Enhanced embolization procedure is a viable option, study suggests,,

TUESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Stent-assisted embolization is an effective treatment option for someone with a ruptured brain aneurysm, Finnish researchers report.

A brain aneurysm is a bulge or sac that develops in a weak area in the wall of a cerebral artery. A rupture results in bleeding inside the head that's often fatal. Treatments for a ruptured aneurysm include surgery or a minimally invasive procedure called embolization, in which the sac in the cerebral artery is filled with metal coils to prevent repeat bleeding and to restore normal blood flow.

Embolization is becoming increasingly favored over surgery, but it can be challenging when the neck of the aneurysm is wide because the metal coils can protrude out of the sac into the artery, according to the researchers. Balloon-assisted embolization can solve this problem in some, but not all, cases.

The study assessed another treatment option called stent-assisted embolization. In that procedure, a stent is placed over the neck of the aneurysm to help keep the coils within the sac. The treatment was a technical success in 44 (72 percent) of the 61 people in the study. Adequate blood flow was restored in 39 (64 percent) of them, the researchers reported.

"Our study shows that stent-assisted coil embolization is a feasible treatment option for ruptured brain aneurysms that are difficult to treat surgically or with balloon-assisted embolization," the study's lead author, Dr. Olli Tahtinen, an assistant professor of radiology at Tampere University Hospital, said in a news release from the Radiological Society of North America. "Stent-assisted embolization may offer an important addition to the treatment repertoire for these critically ill patients."

The study appears online Aug. 25 in Radiology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about brain aneurysm.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Radiological Society of North America, news release, Aug. 25, 2009

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