Medically reviewed by
Dr. Basil Shah
McLeod Neurology Services
Combining the expertise of a subspecialist with 3D technology opens new doors to preventing major damage from strokes. McLeod Interventional Neuroradiologist Dr. Basil Shah explains his subspeciality and its promise.
Here are the highlights of Dr. Shah’s comments:
My subspecialty is a combination of minimally invasive techniques and 3-dimensionsal x-rays to treat stroke patients. There are two types of strokes. One is when there’s a cut off of the blood supply to the brain. The second involves bleeding inside the head, because of a ruptured blood vessel. The most common condition that leads to that state is a rupture of a bulging blood vessel, known as an aneurysm.
Blood outside the blood vessel around the brain leads to several consequences. First, momentarily the pressure on the brain tremendously increases, which could result in impairment of the natural function of the brain or transmission of signals. A brain is just like a computer. Of course, it’s more complicated and faster than most computers. Like a computer, when it cannot relay signals, it cannot function.
It can also cause persistent increased pressure inside the head. In the long-term, it can lead to a lack of blood supply to a segment of the brain, leading to a different type of stroke called ischemic stroke.
This is really the core of my specialty: treating these conditions without making an incision in the head as it was done 30 years ago. Now, we can access these blood vessels through a large artery in the leg or arm. Then, we advance catheters — a very fine tube which can travel through the arteries. We go right to the spot where the rupture or blockage has taken place and fix the problem.
I would like to emphasize that the brain is the most sensitive organ in the body. When it comes to blood flow and oxygen supply, the brain does not tolerate lack of blood supply for more than a couple of minutes. Depending on the circumstances, the damage would be assessed, but restoration of the blood flow is the gold standard now.
I think the most important thing people need to understand is that the 3-D technology of biplane x-rays, gives us a unique ability to look at the blood vessels from several angles, which was not possible prior to the existence of this technology. This 3-dimensional view helps us in addressing the problem without causing harm to other areas, which are not in imminent danger. So that’s the real benefit of a biplane room. It reduces the amount of time to complete the procedure. It reduces the amount of radiation to a certain degree. It is really of great benefit to have a biplane suite, such as the one at McLeod Regional Medical Center.
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