New Procedure Helps Patients with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

MADISON - Hours after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new surgical device, a Wisconsin woman underwent a minimally invasive endovascular procedure at UW Hospital and Clinics for a potentially deadly abdominal aortic aneurysm.


Jon Matsumura, MD, UW Health vascular surgeon, says the new device spared Anita Penniston, 71, a week to ten days in the hospital. Instead, she was able to return home after only two days.


The new device deploys a stent to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The procedure was done in the hospital's newly opened, state-of-the-art angiography operating room.


Penniston, of Argyle, Wisconsin, was supposed to have open surgery until the device received FDA approval Jan. 4 for use in abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. She didn't find out until the eve of her surgery that she became a candidate for minimally invasive endovascular surgery because of the FDA approval. In addition to a lengthy hospital stay, Penniston could have spent weeks in a rehabilitation facility if she had had open surgery.


In this type of endovascular surgery (occurs within blood vessels), which was pioneered by faculty of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, the vascular surgeon inserts a catheter through small incisions in the groin and uses imaging to navigate a stent to the aneurysm site. But not all patients are candidates for the minimally invasive surgery.


"This patient presented a difficult case because the path to the aneurysm was challenging," said Matsumura, the head of the vascular surgery division at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "We were able to combine state-of-the-art imaging in the new angiography suite with the device that can reposition a stent for the best repair."


Up until this point, surgeons had one chance to place the stent in the most effective position. Matsumura says that in Penniston's case, surgeons were able to reposition the stent twice for optimal repair.


"When Dr. Matsumura called and told me about the new procedure, I couldn't believe how lucky I was," said Penniston. "I was dreading the invasive surgery and long recovery."


People over 60 are most at risk for abdominal aneurysms. Risk factors include family history, high blood pressure, Caucasian race, and smoking. There is a risk that an aneurysm will rupture, which leads to bleeding, shock and often death.


UW Hospital's angio operating room, equipped with robotic, high-resolution imaging in the same location where sterile procedures are performed, allows surgical teams to better visualize and treat patients with complicated vascular conditions. Before this operating room opened, seeing detailed anatomy and computed tomography imaging of a patient would require transfer to a separate imaging room for pre- or post-operative evaluation.


"The suite helps our experienced team of nurses, radiology technicians and surgeons to provide superior care with combined diagnostic and treatment options," said Matsumura.

Date Published: 01/10/2011

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