Health Team

Endografts Repair Aneurysms Quickly

Posted June 11, 2007

— A new technique to repair aneurysms reduces the risk of surgery and gets patients back to normal health more quickly than existing procedures.

An aneurysm is a ballooning of an artery. If one bursts, it can be fatal. Open surgery is the standard way to fix the problem, but it's a risky procedure.

Since aneurysms present no symptoms until they burst, most are found in X-ray scans while physicians are looking for other problems, said Rex Hospital vascular surgeon Dr. Chris Longo.

"When it bursts, it can be life-threatening, and the aorta being the largest artery of the body, most ruptures are lethal," Longo said.

Standard open surgery can be risky, so Longo now offers patients a minimally invasive option called an endograft. The flexible metal stent is covered with a waterproof layer of Gortex.

"What an endograft does is it excludes the aneurysm. You can put the endograft through a small incision in the leg. Place it through the arterial system and deploy it on the inside of the artery," Longo said.

Compared to open surgery, the endograft procedure reduces the risk of death by one-sixth, reduces the risk of spinal cord injury by  a fifth and reduces blood loss by more than 90 percent.

Also, recovery from open surgery is measured in months, while endograft patients are back to their normal routine in a couple of weeks.

"The surgery was performed on Thursday and I went home on Saturday, and within a week or 10 days, I was back outside walking," said Wiley Nance, who recently had a primary and a smaller secondary aneurysm repaired with endografts.

Nance only needs to have the endograft checked for possible leaks once a year.

Longo recommended that people age 65 or older undergo ultrasound screening to help detect aneurysms. But not all insurance plans cover the cost of routine screening.


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  • Scarecrow Cow Jun 13, 2007

    Lol, it looks like a Chinese Fingertrap.
    Several people in my family have had aneurysms, so if I end up with one too I'll be sure to keep this new treatment option in mind.

  • packandcanesfan Jun 13, 2007

    Not to go too far off-topic but the same goes for mammograms. BCBS would not cover routine yearly mammograms for women over 40. I suppose the woman getting breast cancer and fighting for her life is less expensive than the $150. They did decide to cover mammograms yearly but what they didn't tell you is that you MUST choose between the mammogram and your yearly exam. Don't be greedy ladies for all this "frivalous fun" because they won't pay for both.

  • nursevb8 Jun 12, 2007

    This is wonderful when it catches on and insurance DOES cover it. My logic on insurance companies is: They will not pay for medicine-Wellbutrin(they say it's actually for depression) to help stop smoking (this might make the person healthy) but stop on your own, gain 50 pounds and get depressed and then they'll cover it! Just like they won't cover weight loss medicine yet know that obesity causes major problems. Go figure

  • kitelover110 Jun 12, 2007

    Most insurance plans will cover the surgery but will not cover the ultrasound test - this is usually because there is no diagnosis prior to the test.

  • Six String Jun 12, 2007

    Hey Packandcanesfan -- The answer to why insurance doesn't cover this is that, generally, health insurance doesn't cover death, and they don't care about anything much except profit. The question I would ask is since this procedure is simpler and less complex, would it not be less expensive? Why would they rather pay insurance claims on a costly procedure when they could pay a lesser claim? As usual, it doesn't make sense, but anyone dealing with insurance companies already knows that.

  • packandcanesfan Jun 12, 2007

    Nice to know that such a preventative measure exists.. but the last line says it all..why on earth would they not cover something that could save someone's life that they didn't otherwise know was inside them?