CCSVI Testing & the Liberation Treatment for MS Patients

The “Liberation Treatment” for multiple sclerosis is a topic of critical interest to multiple sclerosis suffers. Currently, the procedure is not being done in either Canada or the United States.

The “Liberation Treatment” is based in the thesis that blockages in the cerebral veins (CCSVI, or chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency) are responsible for some, and possible many, cases of MS. This concept, and the possibility that clearing these blockages may represent an effective treatment for MS, offers hope for those who are dealing with the symptoms of MS. To date, medical centers in the U.S. and Canada have taken a very conservative approach to this treatment; most are not pursuing treatment until well-validated research studies can be completed and the relationship of these changes to MS can be better understood.

There is rarely a day that goes by that my email or phone doesn’t chime in with an interested party looking to obtain access to what MS patients so dearly hope is the magic bullet they’ve been praying for. IHP is very anxious to help these patients – but only when we can connect them to a treatment that is safe and of proven effectiveness.

You may have heard that other groups are pursuing this therapy more aggressively, and are now sending patients overseas for surgical treatment. Unfortunately, the relationship of CCSVI to symptomatic MS is not well characterized, and, although many patients appear to benefit from clearage of their venous blockages, it is not clear what proportion of MS is due to vascular problems. Therefore, we have elected to wait to refer patients until we are sure that the safety and efficacy of this approach has been fully and rigorously evaluated.

CCSVI occurs when blood from the brain has difficulty flowing properly from the brain back to the heart due to blockages or narrowing of the veins. This concept was pioneered by Dr. Paolo Zamboni, one of the best-known investigators in this area. At the moment, there are no research studies being carried out in Canada, nor is any diagnostic protocol available at any Canadian medical center. At present, active research on vascular treatments for MS in the United States is being carried out at the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC) under the supervision of Dr. Robert Zivadinov.

In a recent conversation with Dr. Zivadinov, it was quickly apparent that he cares deeply about his patients, talking with cautious excitement about the preliminary successful results of the Institute’s studies. He is dedicated to waiting until the clinical trials are completed to offer this treatment to the public.

Although this understandably creates a ‘wait time’ stress for MS patients, please be advised that we are monitoring progress in this area closely, and will advise our clients as soon as a safe and effective treatment is available.

What is available now at BNAC is a complete diagnostic evaluation including the following elements:

MRI of the brain and neck
Doppler ultrasound
Clinical visit with a neurologist
Neuropsychological evaluation
Blood testing.

The availability of this evaluation is very important for MS patients for two reasons: First, because no multitest workup specifically designed to evaluate vascular changes in MS is available in Canada, and secondly, because these changes are subtle, and scans should be viewed by radiologists specifically familiar with MS-associated vascular changes. Even highly competent general radiologists may not be entirely familiar with all of the subtle venous changes occurring in multiple sclerosis.

If you are interested in being evaluated for MS-associated vascular changes, please contact us. We invite MS patients and their families to complete the contact form on our website so that we may continue to keep you informed of new developments..

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