New treatment for brain aneurysm

NATIONWIDE (NBC) - The Graffs: A picture perfect family.  But last summer, when Carmen was trying to get pregnant, doctors made a frightening discovery... Two aneurysms in her brain.

That made Carmen Graff think about her own family history.

"Probably the first thing I thought about is my mom, because my mom died of an aneurysm right before my 18th birthday, so I was scared to death."

Like a blister, this weakened blood vessel can burst.

Carmen's Neurologist, Dr. Ali Sultan, explains how this condition can be very serious.

"The problem is when it does rupture, about 50 percent of the patients die on the spot. So it's a very dangerous thing if these aneurysms rupture."

Dr Sultan treated her without surgery.

Carmen's husband Kevin was astonished at that fact.

"We couldn't believe what he was able to do with such a serious condition."

Placing a platinum coil in the aneurysm to block blood flow was not an option in Carmen's complicated case.

Dr. Sultan explains why...

"When the neck is wider and the aneurysm is large like hers was, then there is a chance their coil can come out and if it comes out, you can have a stroke on the table."

So instead Dr. Sultan used a new material called onyx, injecting a liquid polymer that solidifies within minutes.

"So it's almost like caulking a hole in the wall where you are actually putting putty in. It comes out as a liquid then solidifies once it fills the aneurysm."

Now blood cannot get through, preventing rupture. Since this was all done through a catheter, Carmen made a speedy recovery.

Her husband was surprised at how fast she was back to normal.

"She was in the hospital for a few days. She was home, she took three or four days off of work and she was back to her normal self that quick. Her recovery was amazing."

Which worked perfectly. Tyler was born a month later.  The Graffs adopted him in July and actually found out about him the same day Carmen's aneurysm was diagnosed.
"The birth mother came to live with us in May, I had my surgery in June, and the baby was born in July. Perfect. Everything happens for a reason."