Thursday January 18th 2018

New study warns ERs will become clogged with MS patients who receive CCSVI

A new study from the University of Calgary warns that emergency rooms will become clogged with MS patients who receive CCSVI or the so-called “Liberation Treatment”. But the report has triggered a new debate over the controversial treatment, with supporters dismissing the study as “fear-mongering.”

“It’s more of an opinion piece than anything. and quite frankly I think it’s a bit of fear-mongering,” said Walter Stefanuk with CCSVI Alberta.

The CCSVI or the Liberation Treatment, invented by Italian physician Paolo Zamboni, uses balloon angioplasty to open up blocked veins in the necks of MS patients.

The new study followed five patients who had the therapy out-of-country and then suffered serious health issues back home and ended up in the emergency room after getting the treatment.

Researchers admit there are still unknowns surrounding the treatment, including how many Canadians have had the treatment and its long-term effects.

“Until we know more about this there is always going to be that there may be risks that patients are exposed to that we aren’t aware of yet,” said Dr. Jodie Burton with the University of Calgary.

Stefanuk will admit CCSVI isn’t perfect. He says his sister had the treatment and he would too.

“My sister is 100 per cent better.”

But Stefanuk and CCSVI Alberta are challenging the study. A Bulgaria survey of 461 patients found that 7.4 per cent suffered complications — all of which were labelled as minor

A similar study in Poland found that of 331 patients 6 per cent had minor problems from the treatment.

Alberta’s health minister says he’s not sure yet what’s best for patients.

“I know people who have had the Zamboni Treatment and gave glowing testaments about it. But I know others who had setbacks and even died,” said gene Zwozdesky.

At this time, the province is funding a three year study on the treatment. But Stefanuk believes the time to move is right now.

“We should accept the international research. Move forward with research that actually involves treating the patients.”

The government has promised to fund clinical trials of the treatment, but the health minister says that will only happen if and when it’s deemed safe and ethical to do so.

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