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Health News: VCU doc working on innovative treatment for brain aneurysms
Local News: Water quality in South River focus of DEQ meeting in Waynesboro
Local News: Berkeley Glenn student wins three-month free pass to Waynesboro YMCA 


Health News: VCU doc working on innovative treatment for brain aneurysms

A Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center physician is among the first in the country to treat a patient using an FDA-approved liquid system for treating wide-necked brain aneurysms.

John Reavey-Cantwell, M.D., an endovascular neurosurgeon and assistant professor and Reynolds Chair in the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Neurosurgery, is one of only a few physicians nationwide exploring the use of a liquid embolic system to fill wide-necked brain aneurysms.

A brain aneurysm is a weakness in a major blood vessel that causes a portion of the vessel wall to balloon out. According to Reavey-Cantwell, this abnormality puts an individual at risk should the aneurysm break open and bleed.

“A wide-necked brain aneurysm occurs in about 25 percent of patients with brain aneurysms,” said Reavey-Cantwell. “Wide-necked aneurysms can be difficult to treat surgically, which requires removal of bone and manipulation of the brain.

“However, by using a new liquid treatment called Onyx HD 500, we are able to use a minimally invasive endovascular procedure to treat the aneurysm from within the blood vessel,” he said. “Wide-necked aneurysms that were previously untreatable may now be treated with this new agent.”

Typically, the surgeon will navigate a small catheter from the groin to the brain aneurysm and fill the aneurysm with metallic coils, causing the aneurysm to clot. However, there is the possibility that the clot may dissolve, resulting in a recurrence of the aneurysm. In addition, some wide-necked aneurysms have such a large opening that the coils may not stay inside the aneurysm sac.

By filling the aneurysm sac or pocket with the Onyx liquid, which solidifies in approximately five minutes, blood flow into the aneurysm is blocked, helping to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing or increasing in size.

“The potential benefit of the liquid embolic system may be the complete blockage of the blood supply to the aneurysm,” said Reavey-Cantwell. “This would make a recurrence of the aneurysm less likely than seen with current treatment methods and it may also help to correct or lessen some symptoms.”

The release of the liquid treatment was preceded by a lengthy period of education and training for a small group of leading U.S. neurovascular specialists. VCU is one of about 25 hospitals in the United States to perform this procedure as an alternative to conventional surgery.

To date, there have been no research studies conducted to show whether this new liquid system is effective for treating wide-neck aneurysms, but initial clinical results are encouraging, according to Reavey-Cantwell.

The new Onyx liquid treatment has been approved under a humanitarian device exemption from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which allows physicians to use the liquid to treat the condition, which affects fewer than 4,000 individuals in the United States per year and for which no comparable device is available.

“We are very fortunate to have recruited a person of Dr. Reavey-Cantwell’s skills and abilities,” said Harold F. Young, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery.

“It takes a team effort to be able to accomplish what we have done and the support of the VCU Medical Center has helped place us in a leadership position to provide the best cutting edge research, treatment and technologies for our patients.”

The VCU Medical Center also is the first in the mid-Atlantic region to have a fully equipped hybrid operating suite dedicated to the full spectrum of treatments for neurovascular diagnoses, such as stroke, carotid disease, aneurysms and other vascular malformations.


Local News: Water quality in South River focus of DEQ meeting in Waynesboro

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation in cooperation with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission will host a public meeting on June 11, 2009, in Waynesboro on a water quality studies for the South River.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Waynesboro City Council Chambers, Charles T. Yancey Municipal Building, 503 W. Main St., Waynesboro. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss results of the studies with community members. Refreshments will be provided courtesy of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.

Virginia agencies are working to identify and control sources of pollution in the South River watershed. Sediment and phosphorus pollution decreases the quality of the water and limits the diversity and abundance of organisms living on or near the bottom of the stream. Fecal bacteria pollution in the South River also decreases the quality of the water and prohibits safe swimming. Mercury pollution in the river has resulted in a fish consumption advisory. The South River is listed with impaired quality from the Invista Discharge to its confluence with the North River in Port Republic.

As a result of the study, DEQ developed total maximum daily loads, or a TMDLs, for the South River. A TMDL is the total amount of a pollutant a water body can contain and still meet water quality standards. To restore water quality, pollutant levels have to be reduced to the TMDL amount.

For more information, contact Robert Brent, study coordinator in the DEQ Valley Regional Office in Harrisonburg, by phone at 540.574.7848, or by e-mail at [email protected]. Additional information is also available on the DEQ web site at www.deq.virginia.gov/tmdl.


Local News: Berkeley Glenn student wins three-month free pass to Waynesboro YMCA

Berkeley Glenn Elementary School student Sammy Mandujano won a three-month free pass to the Waynesboro YMCA for her participation in the school’s spring Walk to School Week last month.



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