This is our final leg in our journey through the CCSVI (chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency) topic, a fitting close to the National MS Education & Awareness Month.
This post will take a look at the procedure used to correct CCSVI as developed by Dr. Paolo Zamboni of Italy.
How the treatment works (source: Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada):
Researchers involved with CCSVI have used “balloons” to open up narrowed veins or inserted stents into veins to help keep them open. This requires passing a catheter (wire) through the veins to the area of venous narrowing so that it can be widened. This work has only been done in a few places, on a few people and has yet to be evaluated in a controlled clinical trial.
The potential complications:
Endovascular intervention for CCSVI is an invasive procedure and as such, does carry a risk for significant complication. Two cases have been described in the January Issue of the Annals of Neurology. In August of 2009, a 51 year old woman died from a cerebral hemorrhage attributed to the blood thinner she was taking to minimize the risk of clot formation post endovascular intervention for CCSVI. In November a second event was documented when a stent, inserted in the jugular vein to maintain vein flow, dislodged itself and travelled to the heart. Open heart surgery was needed to retrieve the stent. Other possible complications of this endovascular intervention may include, but are not limited to:
- Bleeding and / or bruising at the at the insertion site.
- Perforation and hemorrhage along the path of the vascular catheter as it is advanced.
- Dislodgement of blood clots along the path of catheter, resulting in heart attack or stroke.
- Formation and dislodgement of clots from the tip of the catheter.
How has it worked so far?
Several patients had the treatment including Dr. Zamboni’s wife, with successful outcomes. Read some testimonials here. Stanford University researchers started a collaborative project to investigate the so-called multiple sclerosis vascular shunting procedure last year. However, they halted the treatments after 2 patients experienced serious adverse effects associated with the stenting procedure to treat CCSVI. One patient suffered from a brain hemorrhage and died and another required emergency open heart surgery after the stent got dislodged and landed in the heart’s right ventricle. The cases were reported in the journal Annals of Neurology and summarized at MS Society UK site. Although such adverse events are expected to happen in rare cases, 2 out of 35 patients amount to about 8.5%, which is unacceptably high.
This doesn’t mean that the treatment does not work. Current data available are still inconclusive. But the high rate of serious adverse effects needs to be looked into to protect MS patients. It is also disheartening to note that many unscrupulous individuals are taking advantage of MS patients’ hopes. Many clinics in many countries are offering CCSVI screening and treatment even though the procedures haven’t been fully tested and standardized. For those who are waiting for the MS cure, prudence and patience, although understandably difficult, are recommended.
Please let the researchers do their jobs and chakc things out…
Photo credit: stock.xchng