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6.23.2015

UHealth Neurosurgeon Saves 19-Year-Old with New Aneurysm Stents

UHealth neurosurgeon Eric Peterson, M.D., became one of the first in the United States this spring to use a newly FDA approved stent for aneurysm repair. The patient, 19-year-old Jean Cine, who was experiencing headaches, nausea and deteriorating vision, was referred to Peterson with a suspected brain tumor. Instead Cine would learn that he was actually suffering from two large brain aneurysms.

“I looked it up and found out what it was and I said, ‘Oh no; I might die,‘” Cine said at a news conference last week at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Peterson, a brain aneurysm specialist and Director of Endovascular Neurosurgery at University of Miami Hospital and Jackson Memorial Hospital, wasn’t about to let that happen. He continued to monitor Cine while developing a treatment plan to repair the potentially fatal aneurysms.

“This was probably one of the most complex brain aneurysms that you can repair – and there were two,” said Peterson, who is also assistant professor of neurological surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “The entire carotid artery needed to be repaired. The aneurysms were so large that devices that would typically be used for treatment were ineffective.”

Aneurysms are usually less than a half inch in diameter, yet Cine had two aneurysms the size of limes. Because of the size of the aneurysms and the diseased state of the artery, standard treatments would not have worked. Instead, Peterson determined that a new device just approved by the FDA, a special stent called the Pipeline Flex by Medtronic, would be able to recreate Cine’s blood vessel. Over the course of two surgeries at Jackson Memorial Hospital in March, Peterson used 14 stents, navigating each of them through a small incision in Cine’s leg up to his brain.

“To put it in perspective,” Peterson said, “you typically only use one stent to repair an aneurysm. In this instance, we needed seven devices for each side of the patient’s brain.”

Since the surgeries, Cine’s aneurysms have completely shrunk, his headaches are gone and his vision is completely restored. “My life is back to normal,” he said. “I am so grateful.”

Peterson said that a case like Cine’s is one a neurosurgeon might encounter once in a lifetime, particularly because Cine was so young. “It’s an indescribable feeling. It’s why you go through 20 years of training.”

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