Condell Medical Center is one of only seven sites in the U.S. selected by stent graft manufacturer Medtronic to train doctors on this advanced procedure. This program is one of many advanced cardiology and vascular services provided at Condell.
Dr. Kummerer was selected by Medtronic to train physicians from other hospitals throughout North America, because he is a leader in abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (AAA). Dr. Kummerer has been doing the procedure for eight years with an outstanding track record.
The aorta is the main blood vessel leaving the heart and providing blood flow to the rest of the body. The first segment is the ascending aorta which gives off the right and left main coronary arteries. The aortic arch is the segment with branches delivering blood to the head and arms. The segment which descends through the chest to the diaphragm is called the thoracic aorta. The abdominal aorta is the segment from the diaphragm to where the aorta divides into the iliac arteries which supply the pelvis and legs. Branches of the abdominal aorta supply the liver, the kidneys, and all other abdominal organs.
An aneurysm is the dilatation of the wall of an artery. When an aortic aneurysm grows too large, it can rupture and the bleeding can be life threatening.
In cardiac surgery, aneurysms usually apply to either the ascending, aortic arch, or descending aorta. Aneurysms that have grown too large should be repaired.
At Condell Medical Center, some thoracic and many abdominal aortic aneurysms can be repaired using endovascular stent devices.
This minimally invasive surgery reduces the rate of complications, decreases the length of hospital stay and speeds recovery time over the traditional open surgery approach.
"The abdominal aortic aneurysm repair takes between 1.5 to 2.5 hours and requires one 1.5-inch incision in each groin, instead of the traditional 10- to 12-inch incision in the abdomen," notes Dr. Kummerer, Director of Cardiovascular Surgery. "This means that patients typically only spend one night in the hospital before returning home instead of the 9-1/2 days typically required after open surgery!" In addition, open surgery complications can include bowel obstruction, abdominal pain and pneumonia-problems not usually noted in patients after the less-invasive AAA repair.