Thoracic aortic dissection moved from the shadows to the spotlight after the sudden, untimely death of actor John Ritter. Although aortic dissection sends thousands of patients to the emergency room each year, Type B dissections are relatively rare and occur in the descending aorta. These dissections present with symptoms mirroring an MI and are almost always fatal if missed, killing nearly one in 5,000 people in the United States each year.
Joseph V. Lombardi, MD, FACS, Head, Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Cooper, is the Principal Global Investigator for the STABLE Trial – the Study of Type B Aortic Dissection Using Endoluminal Repair. The trial is examining endovascular aortic repair as an alternative to open surgery for complicated Type B aortic dissections. Study sites include the University of Florida, Massachusetts General Hospital and 15 tertiary care institutions throughout Europe and Australia.
“The STABLE trial is making great progress in advancing minimally invasive treatments for thoracic aortic dissections,” says Dr. Lombardi, who is also Associate Professor of Surgery at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “We anticipate building upon that success to achieve even greater results.” Traditional, open surgery for complicated Type B dissections involves a large chest incision, clamping off the aorta and implanting a graft into the damaged vessel wall. The post-op mortality rate can be as high as 50 percent. Recovery is long and difficult.
The STABLE Trial is studying endovascular aortic repair (EVAR) as the alternative to open surgery using the Cook Zenith® Dissection Endovascular System. Cook’s system uses a catheter loaded with a self-expanding, fabric-coated stent graft that seals the damaged section of the vessel wall and supports the true lumen of the aorta. This surgery reduces risk, causes less pain, speeds recovery time and improves the quality of life for patients who experience Type B dissection complications.
Surgery for aortic dissections is performed in Cooper’s hybrid OR, designed specifically for vascular and cardiothoracic procedures. It is the only hybrid OR in South Jersey and one of the few being used globally for vascular and endovascular procedures.
Cooper’s all-digital hybrid suite contains the equipment, monitoring and imaging devices necessary to perform complex surgery while eliminating the need to move a patient for imaging during a procedure. The hybrid technology provides surgeons with impeccable detail of the patient’s anatomy, giving them the ability to take precise measurements, use less contrast agents, ensure grafts are optimally guided and placed, and verifies blood flow has resumed properly before the patient leaves the OR.
Aortic specialists are available 24 hours a day for consultations. Patients are transported to Cooper via the COTS system from physician offices and hospitals throughout South Jersey.
Call 1.888.789.4AAA to consult with an aortic specialist or to have a patient transferred to Cooper.