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New endovascular prosthesis is promising for non-surgical treatment of TAAs


Research study shows promising results for non-surgical treatment of life threatening condition

Rodney White, MD, Chief of Vascular Surgery and Associate Chair, Department of Surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Principal Investigator at the Research & Education Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (REI) is shedding new light on endovascular treatment of thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs). A life threatening condition caused by a weakening of the vascular wall of the aorta in the chest, TAAs can lead to either sudden death or death in a matter of hours if the aorta ruptures.

In an REI clinical study, Dr. White and a team of cardiovascular surgeons, radiologists and scientists have successfully treated approximately 60 patients over the last three years with thoracic aortic aneurysms, aortic dissections and other cause of acute rupture. REI and the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center hold the distinction of being the only study site in the Los Angeles area to conduct this FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) research. Results on the first 25 patients in this study were published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, May 2001. Dr. White and his team are a part of a nationwide referral network that has also implanted endovascular prostheses into approximately 600 patients diagnosed with abdominal aortic aneurysms, the 13th leading cause of death in the United States.

Dr. White, a graduate of the State University of New York Upstate Medical Center, believes that this research holds much promise.

"With the development of endovascular prostheses to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms in the mid 1990’s, a concomitant effort to adapt this technology to the treatment of thoracic aneurysms has demonstrated promising preliminary results with a decrease in both major morbidity and mortality being noted in many patients," he says.

The new technology also makes repair of thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections available to patients who are not considered to be reasonable candidates for conventional surgical repair. "Although the experience is preliminary, the magnitude of the conventional surgical procedure and the decreased incidence of morbidity and mortality with endovascular repairs support further evaluation of this technology," he adds.

The Research & Education Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Torrance, California, is a leading independent, not-for-profit biomedical research institute with an international reputation for scientific discovery, the training of physician-scientists and the provision of community service programs. It is an affiliate of both the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and has an annual budget of $58 million. The Institute traces its roots back to 1952, when researchers and physicians joined forces with the UCLA School of Medicine on the campus of what was then known as Harbor General Hospital to conduct a handful of research studies. Today, more than 1,000 research projects and clinical trials are being conducted at REI, advancing scientific understanding in order to improve medical outcomes and promote innovation in such areas as autoimmune disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, developmental disorders and other pediatric health problems, diabetes, infectious disease, inherited disorders, male contraception, vaccine evaluation and research, and various aspects of women’s health.

Barbara T. Kerr | EurekAlert!
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