Hayden resumes work from hospital room

May 12, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden sounded like his usual self yesterday afternoon, working as he waited in his Johns Hopkins Hospital room for specialists to decide how to treat the condition that caused a ruptured blood vessel in his head Sunday.

"I've got a bag of papers here," he said in a telephone interview. "I was signing proclamations today."

He also was expecting a call from Administrative Officer Merreen E. Kelly so they could confer on a budget matter.

The executive said a team of doctors, led by neurosurgeon Dr. Daniele Rigamonte, is to meet today to review his test results and decide on treatment of the condition, called a vascular malformation.

If surgery is required, he said, he likely will remain hospitalized for another week.

"The amazing thing is this technology," he said, explaining how doctors doing an angiogram on Tuesday inserted tiny cameras into his blood vessels, starting at the leg, and pushed them all the way to his head as part of a test using dye to see where blood goes in his head. "These folks are just unbelievable."

The right-side vision loss in both eyes he suffered Sunday has not decreased, he said, though he is hopeful it will.

"It's like looking through binoculars," he said. "You can't see what's on the right side."

Mr. Hayden, 49, said the condition was diagnosed 20 years ago, but never had caused him more than a headache.

He awoke Sunday to a severe headache, he said.

His police bodyguard, Kirk McCleary, who was to have accompanied him to the second day of the Towsontown Spring Festival, instead drove him to St. Joseph Hospital in Towson, where a computerized axial tomography scan was performed. He was transferred to Johns Hopkins for more specialized care.

A magnetic resonance imaging test was administered yesterday to further evaluate his condition. Lying for 40 minutes in the MRI tube wasn't pleasant, he said, "but I got through it."

When the congenital problem was diagnosed, he said he was warned against heavy lifting or other strenuous activity that could increase pressure in his blood vessels, but he often would forget.

Dr. Gary Steinberg, a neurosurgeon at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., who specializes in vascular malformation cases, said Mr. Hayden's condition is a tangle or cluster of "very fragile" blood vessels.

In rare cases, the condition can be fatal, Dr. Steinberg said, but added that most people never experience problems.

Because Mr. Hayden has been able to speak normally since the attack, Dr. Steinberg said it "sounds like he's in pretty good shape."

However, if the condition progresses to bleeding or vision loss, he said "it's usually a good idea to do something" to treat it. Microsurgery, which requires a hospital stay of two days to a week, usually is the first choice, he said, unless the blood vessels are in too delicate a location. Radiation treatments over one to three years then would be used to seal the vessels.

Another option, using a medical glue to close them off, normally is used in conjunction with microsurgery or radiation, he said.

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