We all probably have a pair of shorts that over time have lost it's elasticity in the waistband. That's what happens to the walls of some people's aortas it's called an aneurysm and looks more like a balloon, but if it breaks you most likely will bleed to death. We go inside the Avera Heart Hospital to an Endovascular Suite to watch a procedure to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Dr. Bacharach says, "When they get to a certain size, they can break and when that happens it's a catastrophic event. Very few of those patients survive.In this case, what we did is use the stent graft to exclude the aneurysm. We aren't removing it, but sliding this new tube up inside sealing at the top just below the kidney arteries and then going down to the iliac arteries that go in the legs. Therefore excluding the aneurysm from circulation and de-pressurizing the sac. "
Dr. Bacharach and his team at the Avera Heart Hospital are also using new technology from cardioMEMS, inc. Through the use of a catheter, the doctor places a transducer (a wireless sensor) inside the aneurysm sac. It measures the internal pressure to see if blood is flowing outside the stent. It shouldn't be. An external wand placed on the belly picks up the signal reading the pressure. You want it to be flat lined.
Dr. Bacharach says, "We've done a number of cases using the transducer, but It's not something we use with every case. It's very helpful with patients whose kidney's don't work so well. We are concerned about contrast exposure or multiple CT scans.We are aware of the radiation exposure. We are looking at ways of following these patients to ensure the aneurysm sac is depressurized with out during multiple scans."
A huge advantage in follow up care since no tests would be required just the wand. Dr. Bacharach is the only physician in the upper midwest using this technology.
Dr. Bacharach has one of those wands in his office so when patients come in for follow up appointments all he has to do is place that wand on their belly to get a reading of the pressure on their repaired aneurysm. If the numbers go up Dr. Bacharach can determine is further intervention is needed.