Deliver Your News to the World Presents: Endovascular Aortic Aneurysm Repair, or an EVAR Procedure From Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute in Houston, Texas, Offers a Minimally Invasive Alternative to Patients


Live Webcast, May 25, 2005 @ 5:30 pm CT - (22:30 UTC)
HOUSTON, TX -- 05/03/2005 -- Bursting aortic aneurysms kill an estimated 15,000 Americans each year, but patients with chronic health problems sometimes can’t withstand the traditional surgery used to prevent rupture. Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair, or EVAR, offers a minimally invasive alternative for such patients. On May 25 at 5:30 p.m. CDT, vascular surgeon Ali Azizzadeh, M.D., will perform an EVAR procedure carried live in a global Webcast from Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas.

An aneurysm is the ballooning of an artery that weakens the blood vessel’s walls. Some patients may experience shortness of breath or pain in the back or neck, but most feel no symptoms until the aneurysm ruptures. Physicians often find aneurysms when patients undergo CT or MRI scans for other ailments. More than 100,000 are diagnosed each year before rupture.

The stakes are high when treating the body’s largest blood vessel. Doctors don’t recommend intervention until an aortic aneurysm grows to five to six centimeters in diameter and the risk of rupture exceeds the surgical risks. The larger an aneurysm, the more likely it will burst and cause massive, often fatal, internal bleeding.

“We weigh the risks and benefits of both open and endovascular approaches for each patient,” said Dr. Azizzadeh, who serves as medical director of the vascular laboratory at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute - Texas Medical Center and is an assistant professor in the department of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

The EVAR technique involves making small incisions in the groin and threading catheter tubes through the femoral arteries and into the aorta. There, the surgical team places a fabric-covered metal stent. Channeling blood flow through the stent relieves pressure on the ballooned artery, preventing a rupture. Patients can remain conscious under local anesthesia during the procedure.

“Most patients these days are selecting less invasive treatments when appropriate,” explained Dr. Azizzadeh, “and we can now offer endovascular repair as an alternative to open surgery to all those with a suitable anatomy.”

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