Though previously published statistics have shown that 40 percent of patients die from ruptured aneurysms, Linfante said he believes the updated, but yet unpublished figure, is now between 10 percent and 20 percent at high volume centers nationwide such as Baptist, which performs more than 100 such minimally invasive treatments a year.
“In the last 10 years there has been a gradual shift in how we treat aneurysms, and now it has become almost routine,” he said.
“The endovascular approach is much better, with less complications and better outcomes in both ruptured and unruptured aneurysms.”
Most aneurysms are diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 60. Risk factors for brain aneurysms include smoking, high blood pressure and heavy drinking, Dabus said.
“If you have a brain aneurysm, you should seek treatment from people who have experience and do a fair number of these treatments,” he said.
Florence Black has a family history of aneurysms — a sister and two nieces have died from ruptures — and she knew she also had aneurysms, which were being monitored.
In December, she felt discomfort when she pressed on her eyeball, so she went to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, where she was told they were “seeping” and about to burst, and needed treatment.
“I am very fortunate, because a lot of people have passed away,” said Black, 69, a registered nurse who lives in North Miami.
Dr. John Chaloupka, a neuro-endovascular surgeon at Mount Sinai’s department of neurosurgery and radiology, who is also director of neuro-interventional service, treated Black with stent-assisted coil embolization.
Chaloupka was a fellow in training at the UCLA Medical Center in the early 1990s where the coiling treatment was invented. He said he was one of the first doctors in the world to do coil embolization, and has since treated more than 1,600 aneurysms.
He has also treated aneurysms with balloon assisted coiling and “Y stenting,” which uses two stents.
“Here at Mount Sinai we are treating a lot of complex types of aneurysms that are very difficult to treat with conventional endovascular procedures,” he said. “So we are doing more complex and complicated procedures.”
For aneurysm survivors like Black, as well as Gordon and Israel, these latest treatments have proved to be lifesaving.
“I’m fine. I ride my bike three miles and walk three miles every day,” Black said. “I really feel lucky.”