People with multiple sclerosis will soon be helped by a new procedure which helps widen blood vessels.
Known as a percutaneous venoplasty, the procedure uses an inflatable stent to widen neck veins which carry blood starved of oxygen.
As it has not been thoroughly tested however, the procedure will remain under the auspices of research labs until its efficiency and safety has been assured.
Nice’s Bruce Campbell, who chairs the committee which decides on the institute’s guidance for interventional procedures, said: “Based on the existing evidence, we believe that clinicians should only consider offering percutaneous venoplasty as a treatment option for people with MS who fit the diagnostic criteria for CCSVI, as part of structured clinical trials.
“In particular, we would welcome controlled research comparing percutaneous venoplasty against sham venoplasty, in the same way that drug treatments are compared to a placebo.”
A link is thought to exist between narrowed veins (CCSVI: chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency) and the progression of multiple sclerosis.