CCSVI- What is it?

Many patient with Lyme or MS are starting to talk about a  condition called CCSVI (Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency). Montell Williams has publically spoken of the condition and several have undgone this procedure now.  Some with partial relief of symptoms, some with total relief, and others with none. But when you are sick with any of these conditions, we all know we have to try everything until we find what works for us. Here is some info about CCSVI.

What is CCSVI? 

Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency is an abnormality in blood drainage from the brain and spinal cord back to the heart due to narrowed or blocked veins.  may contribute to nervous system damage in MS. This condition was discovered by Dr. Paolo Zamboni from the University of Ferrara in Italy who published his finding in 2009.

Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI)

What Is CCSVI in Multiple Sclerosis?



The symptoms of CCSVI include swelling of the head, face, or neck, skin color changes within the head, face, or neck, swelling, heaviness, and throbbing of the arms, and  light headedness.

How do they diagnose it:

There areare a couple  diagnostic procedures to figure out if you have CCSVI- a Doppler ultrasound of the neck and brain to detect the presence of blood reflux, followed by a venography (dye injection) to assess blood flow and possible stenosis – evaluates the need for treatment of CCSVI. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is also used.


What causes CCSVI?

Noone can say 100% for sure what causes it, but there are theories. One of the proposed theories is the “autoimmune response to infection theory. Possibly, these malformed veins are actually the result of an autoimmune attack on the valves in the cerebral venous system, which causes chronic inflammation and scarring, thus the stenosis or narrowing of the veins. It has been theorized that this could be triggered by any number of viruses or bacteria.

The CCSVI Procedure

In this medical procedure the left and right jugular veins that drain the de-oxygenated blood from the brain, and the azygos vein that drains the de-oxygenated blood from the spinal area are examined and if needed treated.  The renal, iliac, inferior vena cava, and superior vena cav

a veins are also viewed and treated if necessary. Usually this means placing a small tube, which is introduced through the Femoral Vein (in your groin), accessed through a small incision.

After your groin area is numbed a tube called a sheath is put in the vein.   From this location, small catheters wires are guided through the opening all the way up into the neck and chest veins.  Your doctor does this using fluroscopy (imaging by injecting dye into the veins).  He will then see where there may be narrowing (stenosis)  or blockage in your veins.

When the narrowing or blockage has been found, a small balloon can be placed across the narrowing and inflated. This procedure, ca

lled Angioplasty,  will help  open up the vein and restore its size, and reestablish normal blood flow. If the balloon itself doesn’t  restore the vein’s size a small stent may be used instead.

This procedure is done using light sedation which allows you to rest comfortably during the procedure, but does not inhibit you from being able to follow directions and answer questions asked by the doctor.  The procedure can usually last between  45 minutes to up to two hours on the operating table, depending on the complexity of the procedure and ease of access to the obstructed veins.

You will then be moved to a recovery room for observation until your release.

For more information on this CCSVI please see:  


CCSVI Procedure

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