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Temple University Hospital Now Providing Innovative New Option for Patients with Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

July 23, 2014


Grayson H. Wheatley, III, MD, FACS


Temple University Hospital is the first hospital in Pennsylvania to offer an innovative procedure that improves long-term outcomes for patients undergoing endovascular repair of thoracic aortic aneurysms (TEVAR). Using a spiral-shaped screw which is delivered from inside the aorta, the Heli-FX™ Thoracic EndoAnchor System uses a special anchor technology to secure stents to the wall of the aorta, preventing migration of the stent and providing a leak-resistant seal between the stent and the aorta.

"This is a fantastic clinical advance for patients at the Temple Heart and Vascular Institute because the system's helical anchor technology addresses stent migration and endoleaks, the two most common complications encountered during and after thoracic endovascular aortic aneurysm repair," said Grayson H. Wheatley, III, MD, FACS, Associate Professor of Surgery at Temple University School of Medicine, and Director of Aortic & Endovascular Surgery at TUH. "In addition, this device will help our patients avoid future surgery that would have been necessary to correct migrated stents."

A thoracic aortic aneurysm is an enlarged and weakened section of the thoracic aorta, which is the main artery carrying blood from the heart. Thoracic aortic aneurysms can be life-threatening if left untreated and, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery, they affect approximately 15,000 people in the United States each year.

Until recent years, the traditional treatment approach for thoracic aortic aneurysms has been open surgical repair. However, TEVAR has now become the new standard of care. TEVAR involves using a minimally-invasive catheter-based system to deliver a stent to isolate blood flow from the aneurysm, thereby preventing potential rupture and death.

The Heli-FX™ Thoracic EndoAnchor System enhances TEVAR by allowing surgeons to deliver implantable, spiral-shaped screws through the catheter to the surgical site. Those screws lock the stent to the aortic vessel and are designed to provide enhanced seal and fixation that mimics the effects and stability achieved by hand-suturing during open surgical repair of an aneurysm. The device can also be used to repair stents that have developed endoleaks, migrated, or are at risk of either of these complications.

"We are pleased to be able to add this to the ever-expanding list of treatment options available to patients at the Temple Heart and Vascular Institute," added Dr. Wheatley. "The Temple Heart and Vascular Institute is home to a world-class healthcare team with the skills, expertise and technology necessary to treat the most complex of cardiovascular cases. This new device further distinguishes Temple as a healthcare destination for cardiovascular care. "


Editor's Note: Dr. Grayson Wheatley is paid by Aptus Endosystems, which manufactures the Heli-FX™ Thoracic EndoAnchor System, to provide expert educational instruction and training to other physicians in the appropriate use of the Heli-FX™ system.