Posts Tagged ‘Emory Heart & Vascular Center’

“Back to Life” After an Aortic Aneurysm

September 2, 2010 was a memorable day for Emory patient Warren (Allen) Owens when he realized years of heart trauma were behind him.

Previously, Mr. Owens had experienced 8 heart attacks, had been diagnosed 21 times with congestive heart failure, had 13 stents placed, had 5 bypass surgeries ( (4 of them failed) and had taken 4 life flights (emergency helicopter rides to the hospital). On each life flight he was not expected to make it to the hospital because of his critical status.

Mr. Owens was referred to Emory after physicians at his local hospital were no longer able to help him with his life-threatening condition, an 8-cm aortic aneurysm that was at risk of rupturing. At Emory, patients with complex aortic aneurysms like Mr. Owens now have an option they did not have before – the fenestrated and branched endograft procedure that we discussed in a previous blog post. Now over a year later Mr. Owens is able to perform the daily tasks that he could not do before the surgery. He credits Emory physicians with “bringing him back to life.”

“I can’t put it into words how thankful I am that he was able to do what he did and bring me back to a semblance of my former life.” – Warren Owens

Listen to Mr. Owens touching story by watching the video below.

About Joseph J. Ricotta II, 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.

Heart Disease Questions? Join Us for Our First Live Chat!

Heart Disease Live Chat with Dr. Sperling23 million people are diagnosed with heart disease each year, and heart disease is responsible for over 6 million hospitalizations in the U.S. annually. Don’t be a statistic.

Join me on Monday, February 21 from 12:30 – 1:30pm for an interactive online Q & A web chat on the topic of heart disease prevention. I will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics about heart disease including prevention, detection, healthy nutrition tips, cardiac rehabilitation and innovative new cardiovascular research on the horizon. You can register online for the live chat today! UPDATE CHAT TRANSCRIPT

About Dr. Sperling

Dr. Sperling specializes in internal medicine and cardiology—his areas of clinical interest are cardiac catheterization, cardiac rehabilitation, general cardiology, echocardiogram, lipid metabolism, and electron beam computed tomography. Dr. Sperling has been practicing with Emory since 1997, and has received various awards from the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association Council, and Emory University Hospital. He serves as medical director for a number of unique programs at Emory including the HeartWise Risk Reduction Program, InterVent Atlanta, Staying Aloft, Emory’s LDL aperesis program, and has served as special consultant to The Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Sperling has been voted one of America’s Top Doctors, and has been featured often on local and national TV, newspaper, radio, and magazines.

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.

Defining Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, is the most common irregular heart rhythm, or cardiac arrhythmia in the United States. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, approximately two million Americans suffer from A-fib, which results when multiple circuits of disorganized electrical activity in the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria) take over the organized electrical activity normally generated by the heart’s sinus node. This produces a fibrillating, or quivering of the atria, as opposed to a regular heartbeat.

Although A-fib isn’t directly life threatening, it’s often debilitating, as it produces a fast, irregular pulse that can cause fatigue and contribute to additional heart problems over time, such as congestive heart failure. Other symptoms include palpitations, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or dizziness. In many cases, A-fib greatly increases the risk of stroke; consequently, patients are often placed on blood thinners.

Just a few years ago, patients suffering from this condition were informed that they’d have to learn to live with it. However, increasing numbers of people suffering from A-fib can now be treated or even cured, thanks to innovative therapies and procedures available through The Emory Heart & Vascular Center.

Now that we’re able to successfully treat atrial fibrillation, we’re greatly improving the quality of life for our patients, reducing the number of medications they have to take, and limiting the amount of hospital trips they have to make.

Our next Heart & Vascular post will touch on the diagnosis of A-fib and arrhythmias in general.

Do you have any questions or thoughts about atrial fibrillation? If so, be sure to let me know in the comments.

About Jonathan Langberg, MD:

Dr. Langberg is the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Emory University Hospital, as well as a professor of Internal Medicine. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and Cardiac Electrophysiology. Dr. Langberg is a pioneer in the field of catheter ablation of arrhythmias and has published over 150 articles related to his field.

Welcome to ‘Advancing Your Health’

Emory Heart and Vascular Center is thrilled to participate in the launch of the new Emory Healthcare blog, titled ‘Advancing Your Health’. This is our opportunity to converse with you, share stories, offer advice, and educate you on matters of the heart, including medical procedures and advances. Our bloggers are physicians, patients, and well, you. We encourage you to post your comments, questions and thoughts. We’re here to serve as a sounding board as well as a resource for information.

In this month’s series of blog posts, we’ll explore the methodology behind LVAD/VAD technology and hear stories from William Shaw and Rachel Moore, two Emory Heart and Vascular patients.

As our blog progresses, there may be topics that you’d like for us to touch on. If so, speak up and let us know! Emory’s ‘Advancing Your Health’ blog is as much yours as it is ours.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Robert Guyton, MD, Professor of Surgery, Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery

Douglas C. Morris, MD, J. Willis Hurst Professor of Medicine, Director of the Emory Heart Center and Chief of Cardiology at Emory University Hospital