Researchers at the University of Buffalo report that percutaneous transluminal venous angioplasty (Liberation Therapy) does no harm to patients. But neither does it make the patients blood flow any better around the nervous system. This is bad news for multiple sclerosis sufferers. For many of them have been undergoing the treatment in the understandable belief/hope that it may help them. Unfortunately the Buffalo study found some patients who were worse off by having liberation therapy.
What Is Liberation Therapy?
Liberation therapy is an invasive treatment that expands the inner dimensions of arteries and veins by pushing through a balloon catheter. This works by pushing out the narrowed blood tubes all along their lengths.
The research team are about to publish their results at an â€˜Emerging Scienceâ€™ symposium for the American Academy of Neurology. It is the very nature of the study that is as important as the results here. The reportâ€™s lead author explains:
Â “The Prospective Randomized Endovascular Therapy in MS (PREMiSe) trial is believed to be the first prospective randomized double-blinded, controlled study of balloon angioplasty for MS being performed with Institutional Review Board approval in a rigorous fashion in the U.S. with significant safeguards in place to ensure careful determination of risks and benefits.”
All the medical treatments under this study were done without financial cost to the patients. And the results make it clear that many people with MS have been paying through the nose for a high risk procedure that isnâ€™t doing them any good and may even be doing them some harm. While liberation therapy is not associated with acute side effects, it does not give any ongoing relief to the symptoms of MS. The message of the report for MS patients considering liberation therapy is do so within the context of proper controlled medical test program.
“Our strong recommendation to patients and to practitioners, who have, in earnest, been seeking betterment for their disease and a cure for MS is that they should instead consider enrolling in trials, rather than undergoing these procedures on a fee-for-service basis.”
How Common Is this Procedure?
Over the last 3 years more than 30,000 MS sufferers have had endovascular treatments of this nature. It is said to free blockages in their veins and help to take blood away from their brains. Most of these procedures were done free of charge, but not documented and assessed in clinical trial fashion.
Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency CCSVI is the technical diagnosis for poor blood flow in the veins that come from the brain and central nervous system, due to obstructions. CCSVI is prevalent among patients with MS. Blocked veins in these cases reduce the flow of blood coming from the central nervous system and going to the heart. This means blood will reflux back into the spine and brain. Doctors do not yet know the basic causes of these vein problems, but angioplasty, so successful in treating atherosclerosis, looked like a good treatment. But the new study should give pause for thought.