November 29, 1999
Volume 52, No. 13
Emory Hospital pioneering new aortic aneurysm procedure
Emory Hospital is one of the few hospitals in the Southeast to offer a new, minimally invasive vascular surgery recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat a condition called abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Referred to as "AAA," the condition is a permanent swelling on the wall of the aorta-the body's largest blood vessel, which supplies blood to all the body's organs. If the bulge swells, it can rupture and lead to fatal internal bleeding; more than 15,000 people die each year from AAA.
Emory Hospital's new procedure uses a device that allows doctors to cut an opening in an artery in the groin and insert a patch that reaches into the aorta. A stent, metal scaffolding expands against the aorta's wall to hold the patch in place.
"We are very happy to have been involved in research and development for the new device and in the training of surgeons, interventional radiologists and cardiologists," said hospital cardiologist Alan Lumsden.
About five years ago, Emory doctors were among the first in the nation to begin treating aortic aneurysms with grafts administered via catheters through tiny incisions-a dramatic alternative to the large abdominal incisions usually required. The new new procedure cuts surgical complications in half and allows patients to go home in a few days.
Doctors diagnose more than 200,000 new AAA cases each year. In clinical studies for the new procedure, more than 90 percent of the 800 study patients had fewer surgical side effects, less blood loss and shorter recuperation time in the hospital than did patients who underwent standard abdominal surgery, according to the FDA.