Some patients have abdominal aortic aneurysms that dilate the aorta at or above the renal arteries. These are the arteries that branch out to the kidneys. Vascular surgeons use fenestrated stent grafts to open the renal arteries. These grafts have openings cut at just the right spot so they don’t block blood flow through the renal arteries.
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About two-thirds of aneurysms are below that point on the aorta. However, for those that involve the renal arteries, this whiteboard video shows how these open stents work.
They can provide a minimally invasive option to undertaking full surgery to seal off the aneurysm. It’s an exploratory procedure that’s especially well-suited to patients who are too sick to have surgery.