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August 1, 2008

SIU Vascular Surgeon Uses New Device for Treating Aortic Aneurysms

Dr. Douglas Hood, associate professor of vascular surgery at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine, is one of the first physicians in the country to use a new medical device for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA).  Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) was performed for two patients in Springfield earlier this summer.

The Talent abdominal stent graft, which is a fabric tube supported by a metal framework, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2008.  The new device is manufactured by Medtronic.

“This new graft allows us to treat more patients using a minimally invasive method that gets them back on their feet within days, rather than weeks compared to normal surgery,” explains Hood.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a dangerous bulge or weakening in the body’s largest artery that can get so large that it ruptures.  An untreated AAA can result in death.  Treatment involves either a regular operation, in which the body is opened and major organs temporarily moved to access the aorta, or a minimally invasive EVAR procedure using stent grafts.  EVAR involves making small incisions in the patient’s groin and inserting the device through the femoral arteries to reach the aneurysm.  By creating a new pathway for blood flow, the stent reduces pressure on the aneurysm which reduces the risk of rupture.  Some patients have not been eligible for the less-invasive option due to complications of their anatomy and the limitations of earlier devices.  The new device makes EVAR possible for another 20 percent of all patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms.

An estimated 1.2 million people have an AAA with approximately 15,000 deaths from the condition occurring annually in the U. S.  Ruptured aortic aneurysms are currently the 10th leading cause of death among American men over age 55, with only about 20 percent surviving a rupture.
Because the condition typically causes no symptoms, many aortic aneurysms are not diagnosed until rupture occurs.  Fortunately, nearly all of them can be detected with simple, painless and inexpensive ultrasound.

Hood joined SIU’s faculty in 2007.  He completed a two-year fellowship in vascular surgery at SIU (1996) and a general surgery residency at the University of Southern California (1993).  Hood is board certified in general surgery with added qualifications in general vascular surgery.

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