Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. A stroke caused by a brain hemorrhage is the most devastating. In fact, 75 percent of patients with this type of stroke die. Now, there’s a new way to treat the problem and it’s saving lives.
Jon Galvan is lucky to be alive and moving so well. Five years ago, he suffered a stroke while he was at work.
“I felt a pop in my head,” Jon Galvan told Ivanhoe.
Jon had a hemorrhage inside his brain. The traditional way to remove it was a craniotomy—where doctors made a large incision in the scalp, bone, and brain.
“Open craniotomy may do so much harm, that it negates the benefit of getting the blood clot out,” Neil Martin, MD, Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, UCLA, told Ivanhoe.
UCLA Surgeon Neil Martin is performing a much less invasive procedure.
First, he makes a tiny incision through the eyebrow. An endoscope with a light and camera on the tip helps him navigate with GPS-like precision to the clot. CT scans guide him to the hemorrhage, which he suctions out.
“This operation offers the ability to remove the blood clot without imposing additional insult or damage to the brain,” Dr. Martin said.
Jon had the minimally-invasive approach. He’s still working on his mobility, but he has come a long way.
“I just look at it as another series of, not problems, but obstacles that I have to overcome,” Jon said.
Dr. Martin and his colleagues have been working on this procedure for more than 10 years. The phase two clinical trial was performed at seven major medical centers around the U.S. and included 24 patients.
BACKGROUND: A brain hemorrhage is a stroke that is caused by an artery in the brain that bursts which causes bleeding in tissues around the brain. The effects of the brain lead to damaged brain cells. Brain hemorrhages make up for 13 percent of strokes and can easily take the lives of affected patients. A cerebral edema occurs when blood from a trauma accident irritates brain tissues. This affects the tissue and reduces blood flow in the brain. (Source: http://www.webmd.com/brain/brain-hemorrhage-bleeding-causes-symptoms-treatments)
CAUSES: Any damage or trauma to the brain can cause a brain hemorrhage. High blood pressure, aneurysms, bleeding disorders, and blood vessel abnormalities are all leading factors of this type of stroke. Patients with high blood pressure suffer from weakened blood vessel walls, which make them susceptible to hemorrhages in the brain. Those who have aneurysms run the risk of it bursting and bleeding into the brain. Bleeding disorders cause decreased levels of blood platelets that can also cause a brain hemorrhage. (Source: http://www.webmd.com/brain/brain-hemorrhage-bleeding-causes-symptoms-treatments)
SYMPTOMS: Common symptoms of a brain hemorrhage depend on the location of the bleeding in the brain. Emergency attention needs to be brought to a doctor if any of these symptoms exist:
• Severe headaches
• Changes in vision
• Loss of balance
• Sudden seizures
• Loss of motor skills
• Abnormal sense of taste
• Decreased alertness
• Loss of consciousness (Source: http://www.webmd.com/brain/brain-hemorrhage-bleeding-causes-symptoms-treatments)
NEW PROCEDURE: Dr. Neil Martin from the University of California Los Angeles is working on a new procedure to remove hemorrhages in the brain. He is performing a less invasive way of getting to the hemorrhage, rather than cutting through the skull and brain, which can cause more swelling. The procedure involves a suction catheter that locates the blood clot. This does not require a large incision, just a tract of where the device was inserted. A CT scan is done prior to the procedure to provide a guided way to enter the brain. Then, the 3D images guide surgeons to the clot so it can be safely removed. (Source: http://www.kvue.com/news/health/224338751.html)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Senior Media Relations Officer
UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations