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Device helps treat all sizes of brain aneurysms

The device slows the flow of blood into the aneurysm

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A device that treats large brain aneurysms just as effective for treating smaller and sometimes harder to reach aneurysms, according to a study's findings, which were presented at the International Stroke Conference Houston by Ricardo A. Hanel, MD, PhD, neurovascular surgeon with Baptist Health and Lyerly Neurosurgery and director of the Baptist Neurological Institute.

One hundred and forty one patients, including 21 patients from Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville took part in the study. 

The treatment involves what's called a "pipeline," which is a braided cylindrical mesh. The pipeline is inserted through a microcatheter into an artery in the groin. From there, the pipeline is threaded through the body to the brain. 

The device slows the flow of blood into the aneurysm and allows the diseased vessel to heal. 

"It creates new membrane from the inside, like a patch from the inside out over time. So it doesn't allow the blood to flow into the little ball that you see there (to the right). So once the blood can not get there anymore, the problem is fixed," said Hanel.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the pipeline for adults with large brain aneurysms (greater than 12mm.)

The results will be submitted to the FDA in hopes that the procedure could eventually be used on patients with small- and medium-sized, wide-necked, un-ruptured aneurysms. These types of aneurysms make up the majority of cases. 

Kristine Meyer was part of the study. She successfully underwent the pipeline procedure in November 2015. Before undergoing surgery, Meyer said she was worried her brain aneurysm, which was located behind her eye and nose, would burst while she was driving with her young children in the car. 

"The ticking time bomb that we all here about -- it was very scary," said Meyer.

About a year later, in October 2016, Meyer learned that her aneurysm was gone, after shrinking over time. She says she was back at work in two weeks.

Hanel says the device stays in the body forever, "if we would go now from the inside of the vessel and look, you don't even see the metal of the device anymore."

For more information on Baptist Health and Lyerly Neurosurgery, visit lyerlyneuro.com.