Helping a former athlete beat the odds

An inspirational story of an international patient who was confined to the wheelchair for 2 years but walked again

Dr. Vikas Gupta

Dr. Vikas Gupta
Director & HOD
Neuro-Surgery & Interventional
& Endovascular Neuro-Surgery
BLK Centre for Neurosciences

“After 2 years of a mistaken tumour surgery and lifetime disability, Uzbekistan national walked back home straight without any external support. This was made possible by a team of neurosurgeons at BLK Super Speciality Hospital with the help of a simple procedure called Digital Spine Analysis (DSA) and embolisation of venous malfunction to correct the abnormal flow of blood between his spinal artery and vein.”


Bekzod Abdulakhatov, a 35-year old former athlete had a common birth defect which could have been easily diagnosed and treated at an adolescent age. However, it went unnoticed for 33 years. And when diagnosed, it was mistaken for a tumour near the spine for which he had to undergo critical open surgery at his hometown Tashkent some years back to remove the tumour. The surgery went wrong to an extent that Bekzod was reduced to wheelchair and lost his movement completely. For all the following years, he had to suffer for something which is easily curable - Spinal Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) - a rare, abnormal tangle of blood vessels on, in or near the spinal cord.

AVMs are defects of the circulatory system that are generally believed to arise during embryonic or foetal development, or soon after birth. It is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins bypassing the capillary system. As a result, they can cause intense pain, bleeding or lead to other serious medical problems.

In Bekzod’s case, spinal neurovascular angiogram at the neurovascular cath lab revealed too many blood vessels cluttered in one area. This AVM was stuck to his spine and spreading in between his spinal discs like parasites. Not only was Bekzod's AVM misdiagnosed, but it was also not cured from the roots.



BLK Although, after the surgery the blood clot around his spine was absent for a few weeks, it reappeared and started to choke on his spinal cord with enough high pressure to cripple him.


Dr. Vikas Gupta, Director & HOD, Neuro-Surgery, Interventional & Endovascular Neuro-Surgery and the team carried out eight hour long embolisation procedure to correct the anomaly. For this, a C1 catheter was used to cannulate bilateral spinal radicular vessels from D7 to L3. A large arteriovenous malformation in nature was found fed by Radicals of D11-12 and L1. At-least four radicals were embolised with 50% glue. This cut the blood supply from the selected arteries to the affected area of the spine and prevented increased malformation. This automatically released the pressure and gave strength to his spine to conduct voluntary movement in his limbs.


He was kept under observation and monitored closely in NSICU. Power in both lower limbs improved slightly (grade 3/5 at knee joint) in first few days. Bekzod stood first time after two years on his own and walked free to return home.