LONDON -- Many patients with brain aneurysms are less likely to die or become severely disabled if they are treated with a coil threaded through the blood vessels instead of surgery, new research suggests.
An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. If it breaks open, it bleeds into the brain. About half of patients with ruptured aneurysms die. Sometimes, an aneurysm can open, bleed a little and heal, but is in danger of bursting again.
In the United States, patients are most often treated with brain surgery to prevent another hemorrhage, but in Europe the coil technique is more popular.
The new study, the first major trial comparing the two approaches, found patients who got the coils were 23 percent less likely than the surgical patients to die or become seriously disabled within the year after their operations. It was done by Oxford University scientists.
Some experts predict the findings, published this week in The Lancet medical journal, will change the way many brain aneurysm patients are treated, particularly in the United States. But others are urging caution.
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