>>The Essential Health Clinic Newsletter December 2010
New Pricing for 2011
Over 40 CCSVI procedures have now been performed at the Edinburgh Clinic. Early results have been very encouraging and we are looking forward to taking this exciting treatment forward in the UK and also internationally. We are convinced that this is a huge treatment breakthrough for MS patients and complements our approach to this condition perfectly.
We are committed to carrying out the angioplasty procedure in the most complete and thorough manner possible. It is essential to deal with any venous flow obstructions caused by CCSVI lesions during the procedure. This requires a thorough venography examination of the azygous vein as well as the internal jugular veins and then treatment. We have found over 95% of patients have azygous vein lesions which have required balloon angioplasty.
This has increased the length of time of the procedures and has impacted on staff and theatre costs which our provider has indicated will lead to an increase in charges in 2011. This will therefore have an impact on the cost of the procedure for any scheduled in 2011.
Intravenous Ultrasound (IVUS)
The team at the Edinburgh Clinic have been trialing the use of intravenous ultrasound (IVUS) in CCSVI treatment to see the lesions better and assess the completeness of the treatment. IVUS is a state of the art imaging technology which uses a miniature ultrasound probe and gives a 3D image from within the vein. This not only magnifies the imaging of the CCSVI lesions but also allows direct examination of the internal jugular valves.
As valvular lesions are crucially important in CCSVI and may well be the primary cause of jugular venous flow problems, it is vital to have good imaging of the valves to ensure the best treatment outcomes. Catheter venography used during the angioplasty procedure gives a one dimensional view of the vein and does not allow such close and direct imaging of venous valves.
IVUS also assess the completeness of treatment following ballooning. We are keen to avoid re-stenosis whenever possible and the use of IVUS to properly treat valves and stenotic lesions may well be a key element in this. We have therefore decided to make IVUS routinely available to all patients undergoing CCSVI treatment which will also have a significant impact on treatment costs. The IVUS probes are expensive and unfortunately are for single use only. No other CCSVI treatment centre in the world is currently using this technology routinely but in our effort to provide the best possible care for our patients and to try to prevent future expenditure on further treatments such as re-stenosis, we are committed to the availability of IVUS for our CCSVI treatment.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanning
MRI Scanning of the brain and central nervous system is a non invasive scan which demonstrates the site and extent of the MS lesions. The gold standard for MS assessment is MRI brain scans. Professor Zamboni showed a significant reduction in brain lesions after CCSVI treatment and we hope to emulate these results in our centre. We are introducing this high technology assessment for all CCSVI patients undergoing treatment at the Edinburgh Clinic. Furthermore, MRI data collection will be key to promoting CCSVI treatment and monitoring treatment outcomes.
Increased Blood Analysis
It has also become clear that we need to increase the testing for blood clotting analysis. The damage to the lining of the veins produced by balloon angioplasty increases the risk of blood clotting which can be reduced by the use of blood thinning substances. Traditional blood thinning drugs (heparin and warfarin), carry some risks themselves and our preference has been to use high dose omega-3 and low dose aspirin to reduce these risks.
A recent pilot evaluation of the impact of high dose omega-3 supplementation on blood clotting factors showed this to have similar effects to blood thinning drugs without the potential side effects. Omega-3 levels can be measured with a simple blood test we have developed with Stirling University and the desired levels can be achieved by dietary means as well as the use of omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 has numerous other beneficial effects on cardiac and immune health. There have been some studies on MS showing beneficial effects which makes this a safe and attractive option for MS patients undergoing CCSVI treatment.
Treatment cost for 2011
In summary, we are committed to providing a world class service to our patients. The increase in staff costs due to increased theatre time, the use of IVUS, MRI scanning and increased blood testing have resulted in the total cost of CCSVI procedures in the UK now being £7,990 pounds. We appreciate that this is a substantial increase on existing costs but in order to continue to offer the best possible treatment, this increase has been unavoidable. It is now however possible to spread the costs over a longer period of up to 12 months. Please click here for more information.
For those people wanting a CCSVI Dopplar Scan ONLY, this will now increase to £525.