Aug. 25, 2011 – Over the past 30 years Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) have accounted for more than 15,000 deaths each year. As a result, Hallmark Health System has put an exceptional team of physicians, nurses and staff in place to provide lifesaving endovascular care to the region.

Hallmark Health’s Cardiac & Endovascular Center, located at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, is the only center of its kind in the region. While Hallmark Health’s endovascular experience extends more than 20 years, for the past four years we have been performing endovascular repairs of abdominal aortic aneurysms and other endovascular procedures in Hallmark Health’s state-of-the-art Center. 

AAA affects approximately 8 percent of the population over the age of 65. Patients at highest risk for AAA are males over the age of 60 who have smoked and/or have a history of atherosclerosis or a family history of AAA.

Hallmark Health’s physicians have been leaders in introducing advanced vascular treatment, the latest healing strategies and endovascular techniques to communities north of Boston. Vascular disease can range from life threatening AAA to circulatory problems caused by blockages of arteries and veins. Endovascular (minimally invasive procedure designed to access various regions within the body via major blood vessels using catheters, guide wires, balloons and stents) procedures often correct these problems. Hallmark Health’s vascular surgeons, as well as our interventional radiologists have specialized advanced training in many minimally invasive endovascular procedures.

The endovascular repair of an AAA technique uses state-of-the-art imaging to guide a catheter and graft inside the patient’s artery. For this procedure, an incision is made in the skin at the groin through which a catheter is passed into the femoral artery and directed to the aortic aneurysm. The physician passes a stent graft through this catheter that is compressed into a small diameter within the catheter. The stent is advanced to the aneurysm and then opened; creating new walls in the blood vessel that allows the blood to flow more freely. This type of repair is usually a safer, more prudent approach for high risk AAA patients who may not be able to tolerate the traditional open method of repair. Also, endovascular repairs can be an excellent choice for the majority of patients with large abdominal aneurysms.

The traditional technique for repair of an AAA requires an abdominal incision and a five to seven day hospital stay and a four to six week recovery period. By comparison, patients who can benefit from an endovascular repair are often discharged the day after the procedure and typically don’t require an intensive care stay after surgery. These patients are able to return to their normal lifestyle within two weeks.

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