Dr. Hazim J. Safi to demonstrate technique for complex aneurysm repair during live webcast
First Seen Live Webcast:
Wednesday, November 17th, 2004, 5:30 pm CST (23:30 UTC)
Memorial Hermann Hospital
Houston, Texas- More than 10,000 Americans die from ruptured aortic aneurysms each year, and at least another 100,000 are diagnosed before rupture, typically as the result of an imaging procedure. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the incidence of aneurysms has substantially increased in recent decades. Surgery is the only recognized effective treatment.
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Thoracoabdominal Aneurysm Repair
Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, will broadcast live over the Internet a thoracoabdominal aneurysm (TAA) repair to treat a potentially life-threatening aortic aneurysm. You can view the webcast on November 17th at 5:30pm CT. "It's one of the most extreme cardiovascular procedures a man or woman can tolerate," says Dr. Hazim Safi, Chairman and Chief of the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at Memorial Hermann Hospital and The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
"Because the aneurysm involves the portion of the aorta that is in the chest as well as the portion that is located in the abdomen, the patient is almost literally cut in half."
Thoracoabdominal Aneurysm Repair
An aneurysm is a ballooning or bulging of an artery and is most common in the aorta, the body's main artery. While some individuals notice telltale signs like shortness of breath or back pain, aortic aneurysms are nicknamed the "silent killer", because most people experience no symptoms in advance of life-threatening ruptures.
A variety of factors may contribute to development of aneurysms, including genetics, cholesterol deposits, and environmental conditions such as blunt trauma.
As people age and their blood vessels lose elasticity, aneurysms become more common. "Everyone older than 40 should be screened for aneurysms," Dr. Safi said.
The procedure was performed on November 17th and involved resection of a thoracoadominal aneurysm and replacement of the compromised arterial tissue with a Dacron/polyester graft. Post-surgical patients usually remain hospitalized for one to two weeks and enjoy a normal life span.
A catheter, inserted at the beginning of the procedure to drain spinal fluid, relieves pressure that is created during the surgery and reduces the risk of post-surgical paralysis. Surgical methods, refined by Dr. Safi and his team since 1992, have dramatically reduced the incidence of paralysis from 15 percent to less than 3 percent.
Serving as the online moderator during the live webcast surgery program was Steve Allen, M.D., medical director for Memorial Hermann Hospital. Dr. Allen also received e-mailed questions from viewers worldwide and relayed them to Dr. Safi who answered selected, appropriate inquiries during the surgery. Archived streaming video of the procedure is available for at least one year after the live program, and Dr. Safi and his team will continue to answer e-mailed questions for one week following the surgery.
"This webcast from Memorial Hermann Hospital is an opportunity for viewers to be educated and informed about a life-saving technique that few have mastered from the dedicated and expert medical team that refined it," Allen said.