About the Procedure
Houston, Texas- 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."
Serving as online moderators during the live Webcast will be Hazim J. Safi, M.D., chairman of the department of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and Steve Allen, M.D., vice president of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. The moderators will receive e-mailed questions from viewers worldwide and relay them to Dr. Azizzadeh, who will answer selected, appropriate inquiries during the surgery. The Webcast will be available for online viewing for at least one year. Dr. Azizzadeh and his team will continue to receive and answer e-mailed questions following the surgery for four weeks or longer, according to the number of responses received.
The program is the fourth in a series sponsored by Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, giving medical professionals and consumers the opportunity to view innovative surgical procedures live on the Internet from anywhere in the world. Archived content from the first two Webcasts has been selected by the prestigious National Library of Medicine for inclusion on its Medline Plus website.
For more information about EVAR, call 713-222-CARE.
About the Memorial Hermann System
An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System is a vital healthcare resource known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. The system, with its exceptional medical staff and 17,000 employee partners, serves southeast Texas and the greater Houston community. Memorial Hermann's 12 acute-care hospitals include a university-affiliated teaching hospital in the Texas Medical Center, seven suburban hospitals, a children's hospital and two long term specialty care hospitals. The system also operates numerous outpatient imaging facilities, a Wellness Center, a chemical dependency treatment center, a home health agency, a retirement community and a nursing home. To learn more, visit www.memorialhermann.org or call 713-222-CARE.