But Coatzee said it's impossible to conclude, based on a single case, that blocked veins cause MS and that treating them prophylactically might prevent it.
"I think it's very early in this process for us to make that leap," he said. "I think it's an important observation, and I think we should facilitate those studies."
Rich said she'll be disappointed if the CCSVI theory turns out to be wrong because she'll be back at square one: living with MS and not knowing what to do about it. But she has no regrets about having angioplasty.
"I don't know if having a stent in my neck means I'll never have symptoms of MS or that I won't get more lesions," Rich said. "What I do know is it makes sense to me. All of the research, to me, makes sense. A blocked vein can't be good, whether it's causing MS or not.
Richardson, who is president of the CCSVI Alliance -- an organization with the slogan "Opening veins, opening minds" -- agreed more research was needed to uncover the true role of CCSVI in MS. She said she never expected angioplasty to cure MS, but thinks it could ease some symptoms in certain patients.
In 2010, the National MS Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada pledged a combined $2.4 million to examine the role of CCSVI in MS and, hopefully, lay the CCSVI debate to rest for good. But it could be a while before neurologists, radiologists and patients are all on the same page about CCSVI.
"Each study brings up more questions than answers," Richardson said, as she left her exercise class. "But more information is always positive."