March 25, 1996
Media Contact: Sarah Goodwin at 404/727-5686, e-mail:

Patients with brain aneurysms deemed inoperable or at high risk for surgery now may qualify for treatment with a revolutionary but simple device that greatly reduces risk of hemorrhagic stroke, says Emory University interventional neuroradiologist Robert C. Dawson III, M.D., the first physician in the region to use the device.

"Thus far we have treated 20 patients at high risk for stroke with the microcoil - and results are promising," Dr. Dawson says. "The overwhelming majority of patients have been treated without complications and have been protected from subsequent rupture of their aneurysms."

Target Therapeutics Inc. received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in September 1995 to market the Guglielmi Detachable Coil (GDC), the first endovascular device cleared for the treatment of patients with intracranial aneurysms considered either inoperable or at very high risk for surgery.

Until recently little could be done to treat such high-risk brain aneurysms. Intracranial aneurysms are weak, balloon-like defects that protrude from the walls of arteries in the brain. They can rupture, causing death or serious disability as a result of hemorrhagic stroke or can cause symptoms such as severe headaches or symptoms secondary to compression of brain structures, even when they do not rupture. Out of nearly 40,000 persons in the United States diagnosed with intracranial aneurysms each year, one quarter do not qualify for surgery.

The GDC is a soft platinum alloy microcoil that is delivered into the aneurysm site by a microcatheter. This controlled delivery of the coil is performed in the angiography suite, usually with the patient awake, thus avoiding the inherent risks of general anesthesia. The coil is detached and released into the aneurysm site by application of a very low voltage electrical current. Once in place, the coils fill the aneurysm, isolating it from the circulation and thereby reducing the likelihood of rupture and stroke.

Target Therapeutics, in conjunction with leading neuro-interventionalists, is launching a comprehensive GDC training program expected to eventually include more than 70 other hospitals in the United States, including Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.

Through the Emory Stoke Center, all therapeutic options for treating intracranial aneurysms are provided by experts with clinical experiences that are among the largest in the country. In addition to detachable coils, the Emory team offers advanced microsurgical techniques for curing aneurysms, and balloon angioplasty to treat spasm or narrowing of brain arteries that often occur as a complication of hemorrhage from an aneurysm. The expertise and management of intracranial aneurysms represents but one segment of a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to cerebrovascular diseases available through the Emory Stroke Center.

(Editor's note: Patients are available for interviews. Contact Sarah Goodwin at Emory Health Sciences News at 404/727-3366.)

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences News and Information at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

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