The Emerging Role of Fenestrated & Branched Aortic Endografts in the Treatment of Complex Aortic Aneurysms

Dr. RicottaAs Dr. Kasirajan mentioned in the last blog about aortic aneurysms, this condition can cause serious medical issues or even death. For patients with large complex aneurysms, there is a new procedure that we are performing at the Emory Heart & Vascular Center called a fenestrated and branched stent graft. This procedure is a viable option for patients who may have once been considered inoperable. These grafts are now used in select high-risk patients with complex aneurysms that are located throughout the entire length of the aorta.

In addition to being a safe and effective option for high-risk patients, fenestrated and branched endograft implantation provides patients with a number of benefits including:

• No incisions
• Shorter hospital stays (one or two days vs. 10 to 14 days for open surgical repair)
• Quicker recovery

Unfortunately, these devices are not yet commercially available in the United States. In countries where they are available, the grafts must be customized for each patient, a process that can take up to 12 weeks. During this time patients are at risk for a rupture in their aneurysm. As an alternative since 2007, several vascular surgeons in the United States have been custom-making fenestrated and branched stent grafts using available components.

Emory currently is one of only a few institutions in this country and the only one in the Southeast that offers these investigational procedures.

Fenestrated and branched endografts appear destined to play a key role in the management of complex aortic aneurysms. Research results have shown that these devices are both safe and effective in treating carefully selected patients, with low incidence of complications. Although additional research is needed to substantiate these results, Emory is poised to participate as a primary site in proposed clinical trials of these innovative devices.

You can learn more about Emory’s fenestrated and branched aortic stent graft program at www.emoryhealthcare.org/vascular

Do you have questions about fenestrated and branched aortic endografts? If so, feel free to ask away in the comments section.

About  Joseph J. Ricotta, MD:

Dr. Ricotta specializes in vascular and endovascular surgery, and came to Emory from the Mayo Clinic in August 2010.  His areas of clinical interest include fenestrated and branched endografts to treat aortic aneurysms, thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, peripheral aneurysms, PAD, carotid endarterectomy and carotid stenting, mesenteric and renal artery disease, and venous diseases.  He has authored several journal articles and book chapters on the topic of fenestrated and branched endografts, and holds organizational leadership memberships at the American Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery and the Society for Vascular Surgery.

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