FDA approves new treatment for large brain aneurysms

An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of a blood vessel, which can rupture as it increases in size, causing hemorrhage or death. Brain aneurysms often produce no symptoms until they grow and press on nerves in the brain, or until they begin to leak blood or rupture.

Aneurysms can be repaired in two ways: surgeons can close the base of the aneurysm with a surgical clip, or use a technique commonly known as coiling, in which surgeons use a catheter to thread metallic coils through a blood vessel in the groin and into the blood vessel in the brain that contains the aneurysm. Surgeons then fill the aneurysm with the detachable coils, which block it from circulation and cause blood to clot, effectively destroying the aneurysm.

Aneurysms larger than 10millimeters are difficult to treat with clipping or coiling. The cPAX Aneurysm Treatment System is indicated for use in those brain aneurysms.

“Like coiling, the cPAX Aneurysm Treatment System is a form of endovascular repair,” said Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “But instead of tiny metallic coils, it uses a special polymer material to fill the space within the aneurysm.”

The cPAX polymeric filler material can be secured in the aneurysm in one of two ways, either by insertion through openings in a permanent stent, which is a tiny metal scaffold placed along the vessel wall, or by using a temporary balloon catheter to block off the opening to the aneurysm and keep the filler material from coming out of the aneurysm as it is being delivered.

By filling the bulging space within the aneurysm with implant material, the blood flow through the aneurysm is stopped and any remaining space around the implant material clots.  When filled with implant material and blood clot, and the risk of rupture of the aneurysm decreases.

The cPAX Aneurysm Treatment System was approved on April 1, 2011, under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE). The HDE makes medical devices available to patients with rare medical conditions that affect fewer than 4,000 people a year. The approval for this HDE was based on safety data from two studies of 43 subjects.

The cPAX device system is indicated for use in adults ages 22 and older and should not be used in patients with an active infection or in those in whom anticoagulation and antiplatelet therapy is contraindicated.

The cPAX Aneurysm Treatment System is manufactured by Neurovasx Inc., Maple Grove, Minn.

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The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.


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