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Cardiovascular Institute

Aortic Disease

Aortic disease presents challenges for both diagnosis and treatment. At the Cardiovascular Institute, specialists from the fields of vascular surgery, interventional radiology, cardiac surgery and cardiology form a powerful team to combat this difficult and often dangerous group of major vascular abnormalities.

Abdominal Aortic Disease

Nearly 200,000 new cases of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) are diagnosed every year — and for more than 65 percent of those affected, abdominal aortic dissection and rupture cause death before patients ever reach the hospital. Our aortic disease team has unique experience in treating abdominal aortic disease with both traditional surgery and the new minimally invasive endovascular method of aortic repair.

Interventional radiologist, Paul Kiproff, MD (left), and cardiovascular surgeon, Daniel Benckart, MD, (right), collaborate on plans for an endovascular repair of an abdominal aneurysm.

Open Abdominal Aortic Repair

During this two- to three-hour traditional operation, patients are under general anesthesia and the surgeon repairs the aneurysm after making a large midline incision. Immediately following surgery, patients are closely monitored in an intensive care unit. Patients are usually discharged within five to six days and typically recover in about six weeks. Grafts placed during open resection have proved to be extremely durable, often extending to 35 years after surgery.

Endovascular Abdominal Aortic Repair

With this new procedure, abdominal aortic aneurysms can be performed in the operating room or in the radiology suite using epidural anesthesia. Two small groin incisions are required for access and the procedure can be completed in one to three hours. No intensive care stay is needed and patients are usually discharged in 36 hours. Recovery time is four to seven days. This approach is considered to be the first choice for many patients. This new technology has demonstrated excellent results, and long-term outcomes are being carefully studied by the Cardiovascular Institute team and other centers.

Thoracic Aortic Disease

Thoracic aortic disease is complex, and varies in severity and treatment approach depending upon the type, location and extent of the problem. Thoracic aortic disease may reach into vital cardiac structures and can disrupt blood flow to the brain, spinal cord and kidneys. The Cardiovascular Institute has the region's broadest experience with thoracic aortic diagnosis and treatment, including critical expertise in sustaining life and organ function during major repair and reconstruction procedures. Our team is one of few in the region to employ thoracic endovascular techniques in eligible patients, significantly increasing the number of patients who can be offered a repair procedure.

View or Download our Vascular Disease Brochure

Learn more about Aortic Disease in our Health Library.

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