We’re thrilled to introduce you to the latest FDA-approved treatment technology for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA): the Zenith Fenestrated Graft. If you’re unaware of this condition, an AAA occurs when the walls of the abdominal portion of the aorta (the main blood vessel that delivers blood to your body) weaken and begin to bulge. Our new graft allows us to line the inner walls of the aorta to give the blood a new, reinforced path that doesn’t put pressure on the aneurysm and significantly reduces the risk of a rupture.
The main benefit of the Zenith Fenestrated Graft is its ease of installation. Through a small incision in the thigh, we’re able to access the femoral artery (the main artery in the leg) and follow it up into the aorta. The graft comes in three pieces, and once we have each component in place, we simply release the graft and it fills the space of the artery. This surgical technique is called an endovascular repair because it’s a repair from within the blood vessel instead of an external operation. Open AAA operations require large incisions in the abdomen, resulting in lengthier recovery times, heavier blood loss and longer hospital stays. And while there are still risks involved with the endovascular method, they are minimal relative to open surgery.
As the first vascular treatment center in the Baton Rouge area to use the Zenith Fenestrated Graft, we’ve been featured on CBS WAFB, which was allowed access to a recent endovascular graft procedure. Our featured patient, Ron Norton, quickly bounced back to his regular life after the surgery and has suffered no complications thus far.
This chart displays some average differences between a fenestrated endovascular repair and an open surgical repair:
|Open Surgical Repair|
|Death within first 30 days||0%||2.5%|
|Any complication within first 30 days||33%||43%|
|Average blood loss during procedure (cc)||537||1,676|
|Average number of days spent in ICU||0.5||3|
|Average number of days spent in hospital||3.5||9|
|Average number of days to resume normal diet||1||7|
|Average number of days to resume oral fluids||0.5||4|
Table found in the Cook Medical Patient Guide for the Zenith Fenestrated AAA Endovascular Graft.
Unfortunately, AAAs don’t often cause many (if any) symptoms, so catching them early can be difficult and tends to happen as a result of tests performed for other reasons. For example, from the article linked above, Ron Norton discovered his aneurysm because his doctor ordered a CT scan of his chest due to his history of smoking.
The risk factors for developing an aneurysm include:
- Family history
- Male gender
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
If you have any of these risk factors, or feel you may have an aneurysm, it’s important to get an ultrasound exam (now covered by Medicare for those with certain risk factors) to verify. Ruptured AAAs are almost always fatal, so getting screened is your only defense.
Call Baton Rouge Vascular Specialty Center at (225) 769-4493 to schedule your exam. Don’t let this easily identified condition slip by!