Why is the doctor performing this procedure?
To provide support for a weakened portion of the thoracic portion of the aorta called a thoracic aneurysm. When pressure from blood pushes against the wall of the aorta, it causes the weakened portion of the aorta to balloon. If left untreated, the thoracic aorta (just above the abdominal aorta) may rupture, causing massive internal bleeding. A device known as an endoluminal stent graft (or endograft) can be placed inside the thoracic portion of the aorta to provide support for the weakened artery. This endograft is a hollow, fabric-covered tube, surrounding a mesh metal cylinder (or stent). When permanently placed inside the thoracic aorta, it alleviates blood pressure on the aorta, allowing blood to pass through it without pushing on the weakened, bulging artery.
What is the procedure?
Thoracic endografting is a minimally-invasive procedure to repair a thoracic aortic aneurysm. At the beginning of the procedure, you will receive a sedative along with regional (in some cases, general) anesthesia. To help decrease the chances of infection, the clinical team will clean your skin and shave hair around the insertion point—your groin. A small puncture will be made in the groin to insert and place the endograft. The endograft is advanced to the thoracic aorta. X-ray pictures are continually taken by the physician so he or she can position the endograft appropriately. Once it is positioned at the aneurysm site, the physician withdraws the catheter, subsequently leaving the endograft in place.
Pressure is applied to the puncture site (to stop bleeding) while the patient rests quietly.
Where is the procedure performed?
In the Catheterization Lab or the Interventional Radiology Suite.
How long does this procedure take?
Abdominal endograft placement usually takes 1-2 hours.