In October 2014, Jean Cine woke up one day with an excruciating headache. The senior at North Miami High thought the headache would go away – but it didn’t. His symptoms worsened as he began vomiting several times a day and his vision quickly deteriorated.
His parents rushed him to the emergency room at Jackson North Medical Center, where doctors ran several tests and discovered a mass in Jean’s head that appeared to be a brain tumor. They immediately transferred him to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where UHealth/Jackson neurosurgeon Eric Peterson, MD, diagnosed him with not one, but two large brain aneurysms.
Dr. Peterson, a brain aneurysm expert who specializes in novel, minimally invasive approaches to treat complicated brain aneurysms, monitored him closely, while working to develop a treatment plan to repair the potentially deadly aneurysms.
A brain aneurysm is an abnormal bulge or ballooning in the wall of an artery. They are uncommon, occurring mostly in women over the age of 50. These aneurysms are typically small in size – usually less than a half inch in diameter.
Despite being uncommon, aneurysms can be quite dangerous. Every 18 minutes in the United States, a brain aneurysm ruptures – and nearly half are fatal. Of those who survive, many suffer some permanent neurological deficit.
Jean’s case was extraordinarily rare, as it is even more uncommon for teenagers to be diagnosed with an aneurysm, much less two giant aneurysms – each one the size of a lime.
Standard treatments would not have worked on Jean because of the complicated nature of his case. Dr. Peterson used a new device, a special stent called the “Pipeline Flex” by Medtronic, to re-create the blood vessel.
In March, Dr. Peterson performed a minimally-invasive surgery on Jean to recreate his damaged blood vessel. After making a tiny incision in Jean’s leg, Dr. Peterson navigated the stents all the way up his body and into his brain. Once there, he effectively gave the patient a new carotid artery.
Two weeks later, Dr. Peterson operated on Jean again, using the same technique and device, to target the second aneurysm.
Each repair required seven overlapping stents, with Dr. Peterson placing 14 stents in total into Jean’s brain.
Both procedures were successful.
Since then, Jean’s aneurysms have completely shrunk, his headaches are gone, and his vision is completely restored.
“My life is back to normal,” he said. “I am so grateful.”
Jean recently graduated high school and is enrolling in Miami Dade College. His future plans: to be an aerospace engineer in the U.S. Army.
Jean will share his story with media at a news conference.