Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Here’s a video of a catheter, placed in a femoral artery, going up to a person’s eye. Again, oh my god.
There’s an actual reason for this. Retinoblastoma is cancer of the retina, the layer of light-sensing cells at the back of the eye. Fortunately, the treatment of such cancers has advanced to the point where patients have a greater than ninety-nine percent survival rate. Unfortunately, treatment usually leads to loss of at least some vision.
In attempting to retain vision, while maintaining high survival rates, scientists have come up with a new technique. It delivers chemotherapy in a very targeted way, but from a very remote location. According to the description of the surgery, this is what happens:
In brief, patients are placed under general anesthesia and intubated. The interventional radiologist precisely positions a microcatheter via a transfemoral artery approach under direct fluoroscopic visualization at the ostium of the ophthalmic artery (but not more distal), which allows selective delivery of chemotherapeutics to the eye via its main arterial supply.
The transfemoral artery is in the thigh. This means we have videos of a catheter traveling through the entire chest, across the middle of the chest, up the neck, and into the eye of the patient. I find the video viscerally horrifying, but at the same time amazing. It’s startling to see how a solid object can make its way through a human body. What do you think?