Neurovascular (or cerebrovascular) disorders are a set of conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord (neuro) that are the result of bleeding or deficiency of blood flow (affecting the vasculature or arteries and veins that carry blood) to one or more parts of the brain and spinal cord. Since the brain requires the most amount of oxygen in the body to function (about 25% of the body’s oxygen supply goes to the brain), any disturbance in blood flow needs to be treated medically as soon as possible.
Neurovascular conditions such as Stroke (haemorrhagic & Ischemic attack), Arteriovenous Malformation, Aneurysms, Carotid artery stenosis, Arteriovenous Fistulas, Epitaxis, Inracranial stenosis, Subarachnoid Haemorrhage etc. can be treated by interventional neurology. Each of these conditions have different causative factors ranging from genetic factors, lifestyle habits, or co-morbid conditions that increase the risk of developing neurovascular disorders. An individual’s medical history, family history, lifestyle and recent diagnostic test results should be indicators to identify and quickly address neurovascular conditions before it progresses to a critical stage. A Neurologist will prescribe relevant tests to determine exactly what condition needs to be treated and where the epicentre of the condition is located.
Interventional neurology is an extremely useful minimally invasive medical technique used for diagnostic imaging or to stem a hemorrhage or unblock a clogged blood vessel.
The basis of interventional neurology is a delicate and complex process that uses a thin catheter passing through a blood vessel to reach the affected area in the brain or spinal cord. The catheter is used to perform fluoroscopy or angiography or some form of 3D radiography that helps neurologists determine the areas affected and to what degree. Mapping the affected areas will help neurologists to effectively perform an interventional neurology procedure such as a coil embolization process (a coil helps block a bleed), a cerebral balloon angioplasty (to unblock a clogged artery), an Embolectomy (removal of a blood clot that could be the cause of a stroke) or a Stenting of an intracranial arteriole (to help strengthen the walls of a weakened blood vessel).
Interventional neurology is a widely used procedure around the world, given the incidence of neurovascular conditions among US, European and other populations. The two crucial requirements for a successful outcome is a highly skilled interventional neurologist and a highly specialized sub-micron-sized catheter whose maximum thickness is 1.5Fr (approximately 0.5 mm). The catheter has to be equipped with a coil, mesh, stent, balloon or other agents designed to alleviate the block or hemorrhagic condition in the brain. Since these materials travel through human tissues and may have to be retained within the brain, they need to be inert, biocompatible, and flexible. Materials such as Nitinol (a Ni-Ti shape memory alloy) are trending today. With the superior medical support teams and medical devices available today, interventional neurology is seeing greater recovery rates, improved quality and length of life more than ever before.
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