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Customized Device to Treat Brain Aneurysms Could Reduce Risk of Recurrence

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 31 Jan 2023
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Image: Researchers are designing a customized device to improve brain aneurysm treatment (Photo courtesy of Pexels)
Image: Researchers are designing a customized device to improve brain aneurysm treatment (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Subarachnoid hemorrhages, or bleeding that occurs in the space between the brain and the surrounding membrane, usually happens when an aneurysm, an irregular bulge in a blood vessel, bursts in the brain. The current methods for treating intracranial or brain aneurysms are surgical clip ligation which requires a high-risk open-skull surgery, or the current “gold standard” called endovascular coil embolization, a minimally invasive surgery that uses a catheter to deliver soft coils for preventing blood flow into the affected blood vessel. However, one problem with these techniques is a heightened risk of recurrence due to the complexity of the shape, size or the geometry of the aneurysm. Now, a five-year research project will lead to the design of a device that can be customized to better treat unique aneurysms which can be deadly.

Funded by a USD 3.25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for the five-year project, researchers at the University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK, USA) along with their colleagues will specifically target subarachnoid hemorrhages. The researchers will use advanced biomedical 3-D printing to design and create unique, customized devices that can be tailored to the specific geometrical shape, size and location of an aneurysm. This could reduce the risk of recurrence resulting from the use of surgical clip ligation and endovascular coil embolization procedures for treating intracranial or brain aneurysms.

“The driving problem is even with this technique, due to the complexity of the shape, size or the geometry of the aneurysm, is that there is a heightened risk of recurrence,” said Chung-Hao Lee, Ph.D., at the University of Oklahoma who will lead the project. "It's possible that five or six years after initial embolization, 20-25% of the patients will develop the same issue again. So, it’s increasing the corresponding health care burden and may also lead to poor prognosis and even the mortality for the patient.”

“The overall clinical and translational benefits of our project will be to prevent aneurysm rupture and its induced strokes, which accounts for roughly 15% of the new strokes every year, and to decrease the 20% rate of failed cases from the current gold standard. This is an extremely promising area to drive the clinical field forward,” Lee added.

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