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Complex aortic disease patients to benefit from advances in stent graft procedures, collaborative approach to diagnostics and treatment

  • October 25, 2021
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Advances in stent graft procedures at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart and Vascular Center, coupled with a collaborative diagnostics and assessment approach between cardiac and vascular surgeons, are resulting in better treatment options for high-risk patients with complex aortic disease.  

According to Marc Moon, MD, cardiac surgery chief, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and Luis Sanchez, MD, vascular surgery chief, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, shared decision-making between the cardiac and vascular surgical teams in the diagnostics and assessment of patients with complex aortic disease is key to their successful treatment.  

In conjunction with this collaborative approach are advances in stent graft devices and procedures that enable the surgical teams to take a less invasive approach to treat historically non-accessible regions of the aorta or regions that previously required open intervention to treat thoracic and abdominal aortic disease.

Stent grafts allow therapeutic intervention without the need to divert blood flow temporarily from critical areas of the body, such as the brain, spine or abdominal organs. This can lead to faster recovery and shorter hospitalization.

Collaboration between the cardiac surgery and vascular surgery teams began in 1999 at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital Heart and Vascular Center with an evolution in the study of diseases of the thoracic aorta. Drs. Sanchez and Moon, and Gregorio Sicard, MD, professor emeritus of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, developed a multidisciplinary approach to the assessment of complex aortic disease.

Historically, thoracic surgeons treated aortic diseases of the chest while vascular surgeons treated aortic disease in the abdomen.

“We no longer foster independent decision-making,” says Dr. Moon. “We address complex aortic disease as a disease that involves the entire body.”

Aortic disease can extend from the heart up into the blood vessels of the arms and head and down into the chest and abdomen, the life source of all internal organs.

“Though aortic disease can occasionally reside in one particular region or another, we monitor the entire body,” says Dr. Moon. “Our holistic approach allows a multi-tiered assessment of the patient.”

Advances in stent graft developments and novel imaging techniques provide better visualization and evaluation of aortic disease in the body enabling the surgical teams to take a customized approach to treatment since no two aortic disease patients are the same.    

“The first thing we determine is whether or not the patient would benefit from the treatment of their aortic disease,” says Dr. Moon. “Only then do we discuss the available options for treatment, taking into account the durability and reproducibility within any particular approach.”

Drs. Sanchez and Moon work closely with referring physicians, offering consultation on the latest surgical intervention to best benefit their patients.

“Our goal is not to take over the total care of the patient,” Dr. Moon says. “We want to work with the primary care physician and cardiologist as part of a larger team to provide the patient with the best care possible.”

For more information on complex aortic disease treatment for your patients, call 800-252-3627 or click here.

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