Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
May 17, 1999

Emory University Hospital Uses New Treatment For Abdominal Aneurysms

Three patients at Emory University Hospital have successfully undergone a new type of minimally invasive vascular surgery to treat dangerous abdominal aortic aneurysms, reducing the patient's recovery time and hospitalization.

Aortic aneurysms are dilations in the aorta, the major artery carrying freshly oxygenated blood from the heart to tissues throughout the body. Should the aorta rupture, the outcome is disasterous and often fatal.

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.

In April, an Emory team used the Excluder endovascular stent graft in three patients. All three patients did well postoperatively and were discharged home two days after surgery, according to team leaders Alan B. Lumsden, M.D., chief of the division of vascular surgery in Emory's department of surgery, and Emory interventional radiologist Robert H. Smith, M.D. Patients undergoing conventional aortic repair usually remain in the intensive care unit two to three days and in the hospital another six to eight days after surgery.

"I went home from the hospital two days after my surgery and I felt good," says James Bird, the second patient to receive this new treatment for aortic aneurysms at Emory Hospital.

The reduced size and improved catheter flexibility of the Excluder give more patients the option of having this less invasive type of procedure. "Even patients with narrowed and tortuous vessels can be successfully implanted. Furthermore, this device allows for the successful implantation of patients who are at prohibitive risk for open repair aneurysm," Dr. Lumsden says.

The Excluder device is deployed through small incisions in the femoral area of the groin and threaded under radiological control to the aneurysm site. The device, made by W.L. Gore & Associates, "is the latest technological breakthrough for minimally invasive treatment of abdominal aortic anerysms," Dr. Lumsden says.

Emory University Hospital specializes in treating adults with complex medical problems and advanced conditions. Located on the Emory campus in northeast Atlanta, the 587-bed hospital is a component of EMORY HEALTHCARE , the most comprehensive health care system in Atlanta. Other components of EMORY HEALTHCARE are: Crawford Long Hospital, Emory's 583-bed, community-based hospital in midtown, The Emory Clinic, the Emory Children's Center, Wesley Woods Center, the jointly owned Emory-Adventist Hospital, and EHCA, LLC, a limited liability company recently created in collaboration with Columbia/HCA.


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