The human vascular system contains a large group of blood vessels including arteries, veins, and blood capillaries. Arteries carry the blood from the heart to other organs, while veins carry the blood from the organs to the heart. Blood capillaries are tiny blood vessels that connect both the veins and arties. In a disorder called arteriovenous malformations, veins and arteries are tangled together, where abnormal connection between them both is present with no capillaries. This defect interferes with the blood supply to an organ and is most common in the brain and spinal cord.
Because of the risks involved in conventional surgery in a critical area such as the brain, our team of neurological experts at Shefaa provides a minimally invasive technique known as embolization. In this procedure, a thin tube (catheter) is inserted through a small incision to reach the spot of arteriovenous malformation and block the blood flow to it. Several substances can be injected for this purpose such as coils, adhesive embolic agent, and balloons depending on the condition being treated.
Embolization is also used to block blood flow to cerebral aneurysms, where the walls of arteries and veins in the brain are abnormally weak and thin to prevent the risk of potential rapture.
Narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain (intracranial stenosis) is mostly caused by deposition of fat on their inner walls (atherosclerosis). Fatty deposits or a blood clot can block an artery in the brain, which might cause an insufficient oxygen supply to the
brain (stroke). At Shefaa, our neurological team inserts an inflatable balloon mounted on the tip of a long thin tube (catheter) through a minor cut in the groin area. The balloon is inflated several times, where the site of narrowing down or blockage to widen the artery in a process named “percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA)”. A mesh-like cylinder of wire (stent) might be used to minimize the risk of recurrent blockage (restenosis).