Donna’s Story: Treating Painful Aneurysm Head On

When a headache turned from painful to unbearable, Donna Hoskins, 34, was taken to Miami Valley Hospital for an aneurysm.

A mother of four from Middletown, Ohio, and attending nursing school at Miami University, her life was fairly typical of most working mothers. One Sunday she had spent the day at her daughter's basketball tournament. After a prolonged stay in a loud gym, she didn't think much of the headache she had when she left.

At about 6 p.m. that evening, she headed to her uncle's machine shop in Middletown to do some bookkeeping for him. Alone in the shop, as she typed at the computer, her headache turned from painful to unpredictable. The pain surged through her head like nothing she had ever felt. There was also a strange pressure on the back of her neck.

Her first thought was that something had slipped out of place in her neck. But the pain got worse. She called her husband, Shawn, who rushed her to the local hospital. The physician immediately spotted bleeding in an artery that supplies blood to the brain, a common spot for aneurysms to develop. She felt she was in shock but still had the sense of mind to ask to be transferred to Miami Valley Hospital.

Donna didn't realize the severity until Care Flight was called and she saw that Shawn was so visibly shaken. Once at Miami Valley Hospital, radiologists using the latest equipment were immediately able to spot the aneurysm and call in William Protzer, MD, Dayton's only interventional neuroradiologist at that time.

He determined that Donna was a good candidate for a less-invasive procedure called endovascular coilingwhich has a high rate of success. The traditional method of treating an aneurysm involves removing part of the skull. With endovascular coiling, a platinum coil was directed into a catheter in an artery in Donna's leg.

During the process, Dr. Protzer had a view of the aneurysm from different angles and even inside the sac. Improved coiling technology and imaging allows physicians to guide the coil for minimal irritation of other healthy tissue. The coil creates a clot that blocks the aneurysm.

Donna recovered completely after a week of being closely monitored in Miami Valley Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. She graduated college and now works as a nurse.

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