Fixing Your Aortic Tear Without Surgery (Video)

Stent replaces open surgery to repair 'dissected' artery

Fixing Your Aortic Tear Without Surgery

If you could get a glimpse inside your aortic artery, you would see that it’s much like the inside of a garden hose. It has a thick inner layer with a thinner outer layer as protection.

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When the artery is healthy, that muscular inner layer is round and wide. This  allows easy flow of blood from the heart to the organs and extremities.

But when a person has high blood pressure or a disease that affects the connective tissues of the body, the aortic artery can develop what’s known as a dissection. A tear in the arterial lining allows blood to flow between the inner and outer layers, which compresses the healthy portion of the artery.

When that dissection occurs in the part of the aortic artery that runs through the chest and abdomen into the organs and lower extremities, it is known as a Type B dissection.

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In the past, fixing a Type B dissection required open surgery. But today, we can fix this problem without surgery by using a stent. A stent is a tiny tube that’s  inserted through the groin into the aortic artery and expanded to seal off the tear and hold open the dissected portion of the artery.

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Daniel Clair, MD

Daniel Clair, MD, is Chairman of the Department of Vascular Surgery at Cleveland Clinic. In 2007, Dr. Clair was named one of America’s Top Doctors.
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