Why Cerebrovascular Vessels Become Compromised
Cerebrovascular disease is one of the leading causes for death and disability worldwide. When blood vessels in the brain are compromised, the brain may not receive enough oxygen.
Without skilled cerebrovascular surgeons and doctors, this situation can be deadly.
Blood flow restrictions to the brain can cause brain damage or strokes, which impacts more than 795,000 people in the United States every year. According to the CDC, stroke is the fifth most common cause of death in the United States.
While the majority of cerebrovascular diseases affect people aged 65 or older, anyone can be impacted.
But why do cerebrovascular vessels become compromised and how are they treated? Here are the most common reasons.
Causes of Compromised Cerebrovascular Vessels
Carotid stenosis occurs when plaque builds up in the carotid arteries. It’s usually asymptomatic. Medication can be used to treat the blockage if the artery is less than 50% restricted.
However, if the artery is more than 50% blocked, surgery or angioplasty and stenting may be needed.
An aneurysm develops when a blood vessel in the brain weakens and part of the vessel wall balloons or bulges out. Aneurysms form as a result of congenital defect, high blood pressure, head trauma or the build-up of plaque within the vessel.
Endovascular therapy, a non-surgical technique, is the most common treatment for a non-ruptured aneurysm. It can also be treated via clipping, which allows the bulge in the vessel to deflate.
A ruptured aneurysm, however, requires emergency surgery.
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
AVMs are a collection of poorly formed vessels that are more likely to bleed than normal blood vessels.
AVMs are typically obliterated using microsurgical techniques or embolizations. Microsurgical techniques allow for the removal of the AVM.
Moyamoya disease is a rare, progressive disease of the cerebral arteries that leads to blockage. This disease can affect children and adults. Children commonly experience strokes, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), cognitive decline or seizures, while adults will experience hemorrhaging.
Moyamoya disease is treated via a variety of procedures.
Regardless of the condition being treated, intraoperative flow measurements take the guesswork out of blood flow assessment.
Intraoperative flow measurement also saves time and reduces the risk of intraoperative and postoperative stroke.
A stroke is caused by an abrupt interruption to the blood flow to the brain, which causes loss of neurological function.
Stroke symptoms can include: An unusually severe headache, difficulty understanding and using speech, one-sided numbness or weakness in limbs, loss of vision, balance and coordination, and more.
Types of stroke
Ischemic stroke: This is the most common type of stroke, and it occurs when a blood clot or thrombus blocks an artery feeding the brain. Ischemic stroke is treated by removing the blockage and restoring the blood flow to the brain, which can be done via medication or surgery.
Hemorrhagic stroke: This type of stroke is caused by the rupture of an aneurysm, vascular malformation, or hypertension. Surgery is required to treat hemorrhagic stroke.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA): Unlike the previous types of stroke, a TIA leaves no permanent damage. A TIA causes a temporary blockage to an artery to the brain.
Transonic Tools & Cerebrovascular Surgery
A compromised cerebrovascular system can ultimately lead to a lack of blood and oxygen.
Surgery is often the solution to repair the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen. During those surgeries, intraoperative blood flow measurements are critical.
For instance, during clipping surgery to address an aneurysm, flow measurements can help surgeons make the best possible placements by giving them key in-the-moment data. During EC-IC bypass surgery, as another example, surgeons use the flow measurement data to choose the most appropriate bypass.