Endovascular Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm (TAA) Repair

Endovascular repair is surgery to fix a weakened part (thoracic aortic aneurysm) in the main artery (aorta) that carries blood from the heart to the lower half of the body. Less invasive than open surgery, it involves placing a strong tube that can bend inside the aorta to create a new path for blood flow, bypassing the weakened section. If otherwise left untreated, this weakened part could bulge and potentially rupture, leading to extensive internal bleeding that may be fatal.

The Cooper Heart Institute has a vast and renowned team of physicians who offer world class cardiac care and have extensive experience performing endovascular repair.

Understanding the procedure

To perform endovascular repair, the renowned team of vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists at the Cooper Heart Institute make two small incisions near each hip to get to the large arteries (femoral) in the thigh. The surgeons then slide the endograft, a metal-lined fabric tube, through these blood vessels and into the aorta. X-rays taken during the procedure help guide it. When the endograft is in the right position it opens up and seals off the weakened spot. Metal attachment devices on each end of the graft fix it in place, where it will remain permanently inside the aorta.

The procedure may be performed under general, regional or local anesthesia, and typically requires a hospital stay of a few days. Generally, endovascular treatments allow a person to recover more quickly, with less pain and a lower risk of complications and death than traditional surgery, because the incisions are smaller.

Indications for the procedure

The size and location of the abdominal aortic aneurysm, and a person’s general health, will determine if the endovascular repair is recommended. When the aneurysm is small, careful monitoring may be the only treatment is necessary.