"Valley Hospital Saved My Life"


For Karen McKay of Pahrump, June 2014 was a perfect time to plant flowers with her neighbor. However, the day quickly turned into a medical emergency for the 68-year-old. She pointed to her own car and asked, “Whose is that?” Concerned, her friend asked her more questions. Karen became belligerent and said she had no idea what her friend was talking about. Her friend dialed 911 and an ambulance raced Karen to the local hospital, where she learned she had a mass in her brain. “When I learned I had to go to a hospital in Las Vegas for more advanced care, I was terrified,” Karen says.

The team at Valley Hospital’s Emergency Department transferred her to the Intensive Care Unit. She was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), and doctors said she was in imminent danger of massive bleeding in her brain.

An AVM is an unusual jumble of blood vessels that cause multiple irregular connections between the arteries and veins. Left untreated, the AVM could rupture, causing further medical complications of a stroke and hemorrhage in the brain, or brain damage.

Treating a complex vascular disorder requires specialized Interventional Neuroradiology treatment like biplane angiography. Using advanced techniques, Raj Agrawal, MD, an interventional radiologist with Desert Radiology, performed a procedure using small catheters inserted through blood vessels into the brain to reduce the blood flowing into the AVM. He then used Onyx® to plug up the vessels.

Because traditional surgery wasn’t involved, Karen was monitored overnight and went home the next day after spending a total of five days in the hospital.

“Valley Hospital saved my life,” says Karen. “I’d go back in a heartbeat if I had to.”

Learn more about neurology services at Valley Hospital