As 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.