New device treats aneurysms in the brain

August 19, 2012 11:59:28 AM PDT
There's a new device to help repair blood vessel problems in the brain that were once considered too risky to treat.

Tonya Sharbo and her family doctor were stumped about the source of her non-stop headaches.

"Had a headache for three solid weeks, like hands holding you all the time," said Sharbo.

Finally, tests showed she had two aneurysms, or bulging blood vessels, in her head.

At the time, there was no safe way to fix the problem.

"Too deep, they couldn't reach it from the outside, they couldn't pack it with the coil procedure, because my optical nerves were already affected. I might have lost my vision" said Sharbo.

She lost her 63-year-old grandmother to a burst aneurysm so she thought it was only a matter of time until she possibly died.

Then, Dr. Pascal Jabbour called her to say that the FDA had just approved the "Pipeline" device.

"It's like a stent but its thicker mesh. It will divert the flow away from the aneurysm," said Jabbour.

Sharbo says the headaches are gone and her vision has improved.

In addition to Jefferson University Hospital, the Pipeline device is also being used at St. Mary Medical Center in Bucks County, and Capital Health in Trenton, New Jersey.

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