Best Life: Stopping aortic aneurysms

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:49 AM CDT
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BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Aortic aneurysms are often caused by hardened arteries and can develop slowly over time. In many cases, patients don’t know they have them. The danger is the balloon-like bulge in the aorta can suddenly burst. Now, researchers are testing a device to fix some aneurysms, from inside the body, without requiring open surgery.

It’s a life-threatening situation but many people with aortic aneurysms may have no symptoms.

“The problem with the bulging of the aorta is it doesn’t have pain fibers. So, people don’t know that they already have an aneurysm, and they don’t know that their life is in danger. So, it’s really a silent assassin,” Shahab Toursavadkohi, MD, a vascular surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center, told Ivanhoe.

Currently, the traditional fix is open surgery, a complicated procedure. But now, researchers are testing a repair system they refer to as thoracoabdominal branch endoprosthesis or TAMBE. It’s designed for patients with aneurysms that extend from the chest to the abdomen. During the TAMBE procedure surgeons enter the body through a small incision in the groin, and with a catheter, snake small parts of the device inside.

“It’s like you’re assembling a Lego house inside the body without opening the body. How you do it, you put small pieces inside and you do the assembly inside,” said Toursavadkohi.

When the pieces are assembled, they prop open the weakened arteries and the bulge deflates.

“It’s like you’re taking air out of a balloon that is under tension, and then balloon becomes soft and it collapses,” said Toursavadkohi.

Meaning the aneurysm is no longer a threat to the patient.

Researchers are enrolling a total of 102 patients in centers across the country who will be followed for five years after the TAMBE procedure. The University of Maryland School of Medicine surgeons have performed three TAMBE procedures, and say their patients are all doing well.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

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