According to a story from the Tampa Bay Times, Dr. Murray Shames, who works at the Tampa General Hospital, has been finding success using a new device to treatment dangerous aortic aneurysms. Patients with the rare condition Marfan syndrome are at an elevated risk for this precarious medical event, as a rupture of the aneurysm is an urgent medical emergency that is always fatal without prompt intervention.
The Endograft Stent
The device is called the Valiant Thoracoabdominal Stent Graft System, but it is more commonly known as an endograft stent. Dr. Shames is an early researcher in the effectiveness of the endograft stent, and the results of his treatment with the device will be sent off to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of a clinical trial. He has used the endograft stent six times so far. The Tampa General Hospital is one of six medical centers across the country that is participating in these early tests, and this data will determine if the endograft stent will move up to more widespread trials.
About Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is the abnormal expansion in diameter of the aorta to over 50 percent of its normal diameter, or a diameter of 3 cm or more. An abdominal aortic aneurysm will not cause symptoms unless it ruptures; the greater the diameter of the aneurysm, the greater the chance of a rupture. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The rare conditions Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome also increase the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Surgical treatment is recommended for aneurysms of 5 cm in diameter or greater. If rupture occurs, immediate surgical repair is imperative, but mortality is high.
Dr. Shames has had good success with the endograft stent so far, and he is quite confident that it will become the new treatment standard once it gains approval. Current treatments can be risky, or may eventually require repeat procedures. Thankfully, side effects with the endograft stent appear to be fairly minor. There is a risk of paralysis when working with aneurysms near the kidneys, however, as they can be difficult to reach.
Generally, the endograft stent seems safe and effective, and Dr. Shames hopes that trials will continue to go well.