According to researchers in UK inserting a coil into a weakened blood vessel offers a survival benefit over surgery in brain haemorrhage. The death rate from subarachnoid haemorrhage - caused by a bursting of a weakened blood vessel in the brain - is up to 40 per cent in the first 24 hours after the event. The standard treatment is an operation to insert a clip to prevent further rupture of the blood vessel.
In recent years, an alternative has been developed, which involves threading a platinum coil through the artery to the weakened area to prevent further bleeding. This is a less invasive option and, to compare the two, researchers at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK have analysed results from 2143 patients from centres in Europe, Australia and North America.
The patients received either the platinum coil or conventional surgery. With the coil, the death or disability rate at one year was 25 per cent, compared to 35 per cent in the surgery group. Clearly, the coil offers some survival benefit. What is now needed is longer-term trials to assess the benefit to the patient and the durability of the coil itself.