July 2010 Holiday-collapse-prompts-doctor-to-suggest1
Holiday collapse prompts doctor to suggest new interventional neuroradiology fund

The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery has established a fund to support research into interventional neuroradiology. The suggestion came from a grateful patient, Dr Doreen Browne, after she had a terrifying experience during a visit to Poland.

Dr Browne was enjoying lunch in a sunny square in Krakow with a friend when she collapsed. Her 20-minute blackout was so severe that her friend couldn’t rouse her and, when Doreen finally woke up, she was in an ambulance on her way to hospital. When she got back home she consulted neurologist Dr Paul Jarman at the NHNN, fearing the worst.

“I thought I must have a brain tumour – I couldn’t think of any other reason why someone my age should suddenly black out so completely” says Dr Browne. It turned out to be a potentially life-threatening arteriovenous abnormality, which she’d probably had all her life and could have killed her at any moment.

Dr Browne underwent three highly complex eight-hour procedures, during which a fine plastic tube was passed via the blood vessels to deliver several metres of very fine platinum coils into a major vein, draining the brain to close the abnormal arteriovenous connection.

The procedures were a resounding success and Dr Browne was discharged with a clean bill of health.
Neuroanaesthetist Dr Mary Newton, who formed part of the surgical team, has now established a fund – with a donation from Dr Browne – to support research into interventional neuroradiology and help other sufferers of vascular diseases of the brain and spine.

Holiday-collapse-prompts-doctor-to-suggest2“If my blackout had happened 20 years earlier, there would have been nothing that could be done” says Dr Browne. “So anything I can do to help is important – and it’s a way to thank the team for saving my life!”

“Dr Browne’s condition was one of the most challenging we have ever had to treat” says Dr Fergus Robertson, the consultant neuroradiologist who operated on her. “We are all delighted she has made a full recovery and are extremely grateful for her generous donation.”