Tulsa Hospital One Of The First To Use New Life Saving Procedure

Friday, January 24th 2014, 6:26 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa hospital is on the cutting edge of a new life saving procedure. Hillcrest Medical Center has a new way to treat brain aneurysms.

The conventional way to treat brain aneurysms is to essentially shut down the artery, but that can lead to stroke or brain damage.

The new way at Hillcrest repairs the artery is from the inside.

Tanya Holcomb, who survived a brain aneurysm, has come a long way in a year.

"If it wasn't for the seizure, that they thought I had that Thanksgiving, they would have never found it," Holcomb said.

What they found was a heart shaped bubble that had formed behind her left eye, a brain aneurysm.

Holcomb immediately thought of her three children and husband, but she couldn't stop thinking about her mother, who died while being treated for a brain aneurysm at the same age Holcomb is now.

"It was very hard and when they diagnosed me with it I was beside myself," Holcomb said.

Dr. George Carstens at Hillcrest Medical Center has been treating brain aneurysms for more than 20 years.

"It's a weak spot in the wall of your artery that, over time, forms a blister or a bubble.

Typically the artery would be cut off and closed down but Hillcrest is the only Tulsa hospital to offer a new treatment called Pipeline Embolization Device for certain kinds of aneurysms.

"This is an amazing procedure," Carstens said. "This offers a very effective, minimally invasive therapy for aneurysms that were untreatable or inoperable before.

The doctors feed a braided, metal tube through the groin and up the body to get to the damaged artery. It redirects the blood flow allowing the aneurysm to clot and eventually fade away.

Holcomb said that after the procedure she feels good and has had no problems.

Holcomb liked the Pipeline treatment because she was able to go home quicker and there was less of a chance of stroke.

"I was in and out. The recovery time was fantastic. It was just a matter of staying in bed long enough for the artery in your leg to heal. It was fantastic," Holcomb said.

Hillcrest has performed this procedure 14 times on ten patients since last March.