Treating brain aneurysms before they rupture: How Indiana doctors are using a new aneurysm treatment

Treating brain aneurysms before they rupture: How Indiana doctors are using a new aneurysm treatment

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Woven EndoBridge (WEB) Aneurysm Embolization System, approved for use in January, has made its way to Indiana.

Dr. Daniel H. Sahlein at St. Vincent affiliated Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine is the first doctor to use the aneurysm treatment in the state.

A brain aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel in the brain that either grows or ruptures.

According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, 6.5 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm.

Of those, 30,000 people suffer a rupture each year which causes severe bleeding in the brain.

“The device reduces the risk of a brain aneurysm rupture by treating it before it bursts,” said Dr. Sahlein.

Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine treats about 200 aneurysms a year.

Dr. Sahlein says volume matters because doctors get more practice using a device and ultimately get better at it.

This is not the first tool to treat brain aneurysm, but it is the first-of-its-kind braided tool.

The WEB Aneurysm Embolization System is a small and self expanding tool designed to fit around an aneurysm to seal it off and prevent a rupture.

The device makes a sphere or barrel when it blows up after being placed into the aneurysm. It’s completed via a minimally invasive procedure and patients are typically home within a day.

In medical trials, Dr. Sahlein says the device has about a 40% cure rate and 80% adequate occlusion rate, which means it’s blocking blood flow enough.

Discovering a brain aneurysm is often luck says Dr. Sahlein.

“Patients who come into the ER complaining of the worst headache of their lives usually get a full work up to test for an aneurysm,” Dr. Sahlein said.

Other times, it’s found through an injury or pre-existing condition.

Still, when it is discovered, Dr. Sahlein says the WEB device is yet another way to effectively treat patients with brain aneurysms.