Fort Sanders Regional was the first facility in the area to combine CT and bi-plane angiography with a full-time neurointerventional radiologist to provide our region with minimally invasive options for treating stroke, aneurysms and other vascular diseases in the brain. With this system, minimally-invasive procedures can be performed preventing patients from undergoing surgery or an extended hospital stay.
Bi-plane technology improves imaging and resolution, creating comprehensive 3-dimensional views of the blood vessels in the brain. Having a more precise picture of an abnormality makes it easier to diagnose and repair. A team of ARRT certified technologists and nurses assist the performing radiologist with each procedure. Micro-catheters are inserted through the groin and then guided to the area of treatment to either administer medications, coil aneurysms or retrieve clots. These non-surgical procedures often have very short hospitalization, all while keeping radiation exposure to a safe minimum .
Bi-plane procedures include:
- Merci clot retrieval for stroke
- Coiling treatment for aneurysm
- Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) treatment
- Angioplasty and stenting
- Merci clot retrieval and Intra-arterial tPA
For patients who arrive in the emergency room after three hours, thrombolytics can be administered directly into the clot through a small catheter in the blocked artery. A corkscrew device can be inserted through a catheter to remove a clot in large arteries in the brain.
There is a time limitation for this treatment. Patients must get to the emergency room within 6 hours of symptom onset in order to receive intra-arterial tPA and the Merci clot retriever.
Coiling Procedure for Aneurysms
With Fort Sanders’ new bi-plane angiography system, aneurysms can better visualized, accessed, and repaired using a revolutionary coiling procedure. A neurointerventional radiologist (a physician with expertise in both neurovascular disease and imaging) is required to perform this procedure. Fewer than 300 physicians of this specialty exist in the United States.
With the less invasive coiling technique, aneurysms are repaired using tiny metal coils which are fed through a small catheter from an artery in the leg to the brain. The coils are made of soft platinum wire and clot the aneurysm from within. The artery heals across the coils, forming a new layer of tissue.
In some cases, because of an aneurysm’s location or the patient’s medical condition, coiling may not be the best treatment. Traditional neurosurgery may be recommended. Fort Sanders Regional’s neurointerventional radiologist and neurosurgeons work together to determine the best treatment option for each patient.
Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) Treatment
AVMs are rare congenital defects in the arteries and veins of the brain. These can bleed can cause strokes but can also be treated using similar techniques as listed above with bi-plane technology.
Angioplasty-Stenting for Narrowed and Obstructed Arteries
Some blockages inside the brain may cause stroke and cannot be treated with traditional surgery. Bi-plane technology may assist these patients.
For more information on the treatments outlined, please call 673-FORT.
A local man survived the type of stroke that normally kills 80 percent of its victims. He’s doing so well, he just moved to Europe and is enjoying life to its fullest. It’s been three and a half years since Ken Harrawood suffered a stroke. It hit while he was driving to Y-12 for his first day of work with Bechtel. He now lives in Manchester, England.
Adam Hill gets the tools in place for the next life-saving surgery in the interventional radiology lab at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. As lead tech, Hill knows this place like the back of his hand. He never dreamed he’d be a patient receiving treatment here, suffering from a ruptured aneurysm, like so many patients he’s helped treat.
Since recovering from a stroke, Paul DeWitt appreciates simple pleasures that are easily taken for granted. He grasps a cup of coffee. He smiles and laughs. He even appreciates the ability to whistle.