Report: Anil Bedag. Mumbai
Mumbai: lots in the brain nerves are one of the most common reasons that lead to strokes in humans. Removing these clots from blood vessel is an extremely risky process that can lead to several side-effects. But as medical science has advanced, there is a new stream that helps get rid of the clots without surgery and patients feel no pain.
Called Interventional Radiology, this lesser-known medical branch helps treat critical illnesses like blood clots, tumours and blood vessel enlargement through targeted procedures. Treatment is done by reaching the affected organ by entering natural passages like blood vessels, liver ducts or urinary tracts.
Interventional Radiology is also used to treat varicose veins — enlarged, swollen and twisting veins, often appearing blue or dark purple under human skin. Conditions like deep vein thrombosis — a blood clot in a deep vein — usually in the legs; peripheral artery disease where narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs, are also treated under Interventional Radiology. This painless method helps destroy deadly cancer tumours.
“Interventional radiology is now the fourth pillar of oncology. We inject a high dose of chemotherapy drug directly into the artery that supplies to the cancer tumour, precisely destroying only the tumour, with no damage to surrounding organs,” said Dr Shivraj Ingole, Associate Professor and unit head of Interventional Radiology at Sir JJ Hospital, Mumbai.
Nausea, hair-loss and weight-loss — some of the common side-effects seen in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy — can be prevented via Interventional Radiology. However, only liver, kidney and lung tumours can be treated currently under this method and researchers are studying how this procedure can be used to kill all kinds of cancer.
According to the Indian Stroke Association, around 1.8 million people in India suffer from a stroke every year, which has risen by 100 percent in the past few decades. The morbidity and mortality rate is higher as patients are not brought for treatment within a narrow window available to save them.
“The patient needs to be brought [in for treatment] within four hours [of suffering a stroke] so as to dissolve the clot in brain blood vessel through IV Thrombolysis treatment and six to 16 hours through mechanical thrombectomy. But we only see 1 to 10 percent cases coming in time and therefore the clinical success rate is not very high,” Dr Ingole added.
Removing blood clots from brain vessels in traditional medical practice can be extremely risky and is believed to be almost impossible as the brain is made up of billions of cells called neurons. Any minor error while removing a blood clot through surgery can cause permanent damage to the brain.