Officially opened in April 2016 by HE Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Neuroangiography Suite has offered improved treatment outcomes for hundreds of patients with serious vascular disorders in the brain and spinal cord. 

The new facility has boosted HMC’s ability to deliver minimally invasive treatment of vascular problems in the brain and spine, known as Interventional Neuroradiology (INR). These procedures are provided by the Neuroradiology Department and have resulted in a marked improvement in the quality of care and outcomes for both pediatric and adult patients since 2015.

‘More than 250 patients have received treatment, including many life-saving procedures since operations first began in the Neuroangiography Suite. These include minimally invasive endovascular treatments for brain and spine vascular disorders and procedures to remove blood clots from brain arteries,’ said Dr Ayman Zakaria, Senior Consultant, Interventional Neuroradiology at Hamad General Hospital.

‘The treatment options for these patients have improved enormously due to the technology available in the new suite. Patients with tumors, vascular malformations, cerebral aneurysms, as well as children with developmental vascular disorders in the brain, have been among those to benefit from the cutting-edge technology in this new facility,’ explained Dr Zakaria.

Advanced imaging provides the very best view of the arteries and veins and allows physicians to see their precise location.

‘For patients with acute stroke, we are now able to perform a procedure known as mechanical thrombectomy, where we introduce a thin catheter through the artery of the groin up to the brain and physically remove the clot that blocks the arteries to the brain. Before the introduction of this technique, the only treatment option available for acute stroke patients was to inject a clot-busting drug. This option is far less effective than the mechanical thrombectomy procedure,’ explained Dr Zakaria.

One of the key benefits of the new suite is the advanced capability of bi-plane angiography and CT like imaging. Dr Ahmed Own, Chairman of Neuroradiology at HMC, explained that this imaging technique allows neuro-interventional teams to view the inside of blood vessels and organs in greater detail.

‘This advanced imaging gives them the very best view of the arteries and veins and allows them to see their precise location and determine the strategy for treatment while they perform the procedure,’ explained Dr Own.

Five children below two years of age have been treated with life-saving procedures in the Neuroangiography Suite. These infants suffered from a condition known as Vein of Galen Malformation, a rare condition that occurs during pregnancy and results in abnormal connections between blood vessels within the brain.

‘The technology within the Suite enabled us to correct these abnormalities in the infants’ developing brains and gave them the chance to thrive and live a healthy life. Without this technology, we would not be able to fix these conditions and these infants would have been left with a great risk of bleeding and death,’ explained Dr Own.

The number of cases treated in the Neuroangiography Suite has risen each year due to the increased number of patients with stroke and vascular conditions of the brain and spine in Qatar.

‘Each year we are seeing more and more stroke patients admitted to our hospitals,’ explained Professor Ashfaq Shuaib, Director of HMC’s Neurosciences Institute. ‘It is no exaggeration to say that procedures performed in the Neuroangiography Suite have saved the lives of many patients. Without this technology, it was simply not possible to provide the same level of treatment.’