Pregnant woman receives lifesaving treatment for brain aneurysm at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville
February 25, 2015 | Jacksonville, FL
Treating a brain aneurysm is a delicate procedure, but can be even more challenging when the patient is pregnant.
Savannah Steele awoke at 1 a.m. with terrible head pain. Her husband, Kevin, called 911 and before she knew it, Steele, who was five months pregnant at the time in December, was on an ambulance headed to the hospital. A scan showed an aneurysm had ruptured and there was blood in her brain.
Steele, of St. Marys, was taken by helicopter from the Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus to the Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville.
Neurovascular surgeon Eric Sauvageau, MD, director of the Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center at Baptist Jacksonville, was able to go through her femoral artery in her leg up to her brain and put coils in the aneurysm to stop the bleeding.
Dr. Sauvageau said Steele had a complex aneurysm involving the entire vessel. He was able to fill the aneurysm with coils, which blocked blood from going into the aneurysm and causing it to dry up over time. The blood vessel on the other side of her brain has been able to bring blood to both sides preventing her from having a stroke.
A lot of consideration had to be given during her care because of her pregnancy, Dr. Sauvageau said.
“We limited the Xrays. Instead of using a CT scan which is regularly done, we used a MRI to limit radiation. We limited the medication we gave her to avoid side effects to the baby. We were just trying to keep it very simple. We had an OBGYN to consult to make sure we were not doing anything that was not appropriate for the baby.”
Steele, 24, who is due in April with her second child, said Dr. Sauvageau did an amazing job. She had a follow-up MRI on Monday, which confirmed that the aneurysm is gone, Dr. Sauvageau said.
“The fact that he was able to do it while I was pregnant is a miracle, really. The recovery has been good, no problems,” Steele said. “The doctors said the aneurysm was something I may have had for a while but progressively enlarged and eventually erupted. I thought this procedure going through the artery in my leg was better than getting brain surgery.”
Her family praised the quick action of physicians and nurses at both Camden and Baptist. Dr. Sauvageau said the transfer from Georgia “was a good example of collaboration with other hospitals. Everything went smooth.”