Global News | Canadian study to track MS patients after vein-opening treatments abroadTORONTO - A Canadian doctor is beginning his own before-and-after study of MS patients who are opting for the so-called liberation treatment.
Dr. Sandy McDonald, a cardiovascular surgeon in Barrie, Ont., hopes to recruit 250 MS patients for the study, which is aimed at assessing the results of the procedure to unblock neck veins.
The study will involve ultrasound imaging of the patient's neck veins and quality-of-life testing before and after patients undergo the procedure, which is not approved in Canada for treating multiple sclerosis.
Thousands of Canadians have travelled to centres in the United States, Europe, India and elsewhere that provide the unproven treatment, based on a theory by Italian vascular surgeon Dr. Paolo Zamboni that MS is linked to impaired blood flow from the brain due to blocked or twisted jugular and other neck veins.
The technique to correct the condition — which Zamboni calls chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI — involves unclogging the veins with balloon angioplasty, the same technique used to clear blocked coronary arteries.
McDonald, who was trained by Zamboni in his specific ultrasound technique to detect CCSVI, provides the diagnostic testing at his clinic in Barrie.
When MS patients seek the vein-clearing procedure at clinics outside Canada, there is little or no formal followup after they return home — so information about the condition of their neck veins, possible adverse effects and measures of whether the procedure alleviated symptoms are all lost, McDonald said.
"And what I'm trying to do is capture some of the data so that data isn't lost."
As part of the study, McDonald's clinic will...
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