Experimental device may prevent aortic rupture


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There’s not a good test to predict it– and when it hits, it’s often fatal. But one procedure may turn out to be a life-saver. 

After 52 years of marriage, Michael and Elaine Renner still find the joy in life.
But a series of tests last year brought bad news. Michael had an abdominal aortic aneurysm also known as Triple-A. Doctors were direct: If it ruptures, you’ll probably die.  

“Talking to the doctors they said this is life or death here you’ve got to have it fixed,” says Michael Renner.

These aneurysms happen when a spot on the body’s largest artery, the aorta, weakens and expands. Michael’s doctors told him his only hope was an experimental device only a few doctors are testing. 

Murray Shames, MD, Vascular Surgeon, USF Health says: “This is a physician sponsored trial approved by the FDA, approved by Medicare and would be reimbursed by your insurance carrier.”

Guided by x-rays, doctors assemble what’s known as the Patrick Kelly Device over the bulging aorta to prevent it from rupturing. There are risks and USF is only one of only six sites in the country testing it. 

“We do like to take precaution with the spinal cord there is still some risk that you could get a spinal cord injury and end up with paralysis. The risk is significantly lower than getting open traditional surgery,” Shames says.

“He did a great job,” Michael Renner says.

Now Michael is back enjoying life with Elaine.

“We are very grateful that we have this. And basically it’s a new lease on life,” says Elaine Renner. “At 73 years old, doctors say he has lots of life to live.”

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are called silent killers because they usually cause no symptoms. They are often found during a routine exam. Triple A’s run in families and doctors say screening could save the life of someone you love.


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