Features September 2010 Issue

Thoracic-Aortic Disease Presents Challenging Treatment Options

The potentially dangerous condition can be repaired through open surgery or with a less-invasive procedure.

New advances in managing the serious effects of the rare, but deadly thoracic aortic disease (TAD) have led the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) to issue a statement about treatment of the disease, which kills almost 10,000 Americans each year. TAD weakens a vital artery, putting it at risk of tearing or rupturing. Surgical management aims to prevent this but the commonly used open surgery approach can be risky for some patients. "Newer minimally invasive endovascular techniques may lower that risk," says Eric Roselli, MD, a staff surgeon in Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, "but the durability of endovascular repair of the thoracic aorta remains unproven."

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