Melanie Lucas

Unruptured Aneurysm

First NJ Patient to Have an Aneurysm Treated with Glue

“I never felt like I got lost, like you sometimes do –It was such personal care. I would have never thought to come to Trenton. Now, I am so grateful I was brought to Capital Health”

melanie lucasWhen you walk into Melanie Lucas’ kitchen, in Burlington City, it takes only an instant to know where her priorities lie.

Along the walls, on the refrigerator, in frames on the buffet table off to the side, are art projects from first grade, prom pictures, crafts from grade school. Her children are now grown and in the midst of undergraduate and master degrees, but Mom still fondly and proudly captures all the early years.

It is fitting that Melanie Lucas took her journey with her daughter Kathy. A strong, solid bond has carried them through a health crisis that, in just a few weeks time, took her from memory loss, to possibly Lyme disease, to two unruptured aneurysms, one of which needed immediate treatment.

Melanie initially went to her doctor because she was forgetting things. The first step was an infectious disease doctor who tested her for Lyme disease. A subsequent MRI showed something very different.

Melanie remembers the doctor’s call clearly.

‘The good news is that your memory tissue is fine,’ her doctor told her. ‘However you need to see a neurologist because there is an aneurysm in your brain.’

Further tests showed a second aneurysm and her neurologist, Dr. Scott Sharett, told her she needed to see a neurosurgeon. Dr. Sharett told her she needed to drive to the Trenton area to see Dr. Veznedaroglu (“Dr. Vez”) at Capital Health, who specializes in aneurysms and has been at the forefront of new treatment approaches. Melanie was surprised that he wasn’t sending her to somewhere in nearby Philadelphia.

Once the ball starting rolling, things moved quickly for Melanie. Before she knew it, she was meeting with Dr. Vez who recommended using a special glue to “secure” the aneurysm that he felt was a risk for rupture. He recommended using the special glue, which is made out of a special polymer, because of the type of aneurysm Melanie had, which had a wide neck, and also because of other factors including her age. Injected through a catheter, the glue would fill the aneurysm and solidify, preventing blood from flowing into the space.

Dr. Vez was one of the first physicians in the country chosen to use the glue, and had performed this procedure before. However, Melanie would be the first patient in NJ to have an aneurysm glued. Kathy, her daughter recalls researching the procedure but notes, “Dr. Vez was so confident, and that made us comfortable and confident in him.”

For Melanie she didn’t have time to be scared and her comfort with Dr. Vez added to her ability to move forward with the treatment, “I thank God I was sent here. Once I met with Dr. Vez I felt completely confident in him and his recommendation to use the glue. He just put my mind at ease. Throughout this entire process I felt safe.”

Melanie is now back to her regular routine and left the hospital after just a couple days. She says the whole process amazed her. “From the person who checked me in – to the nurses and people who brought my meals, I felt taken care of. The nurses were like family. I never felt like I got lost, like you sometimes do – it was such personal care. I would have never thought to come to Trenton, now I am so grateful I was brought to Capital Health.”
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