U-M first to implant investigational device for thoracic aneurysm

Early in 2014, a U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center team performed the first ever implantation of the GORE® TAG® Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis.

Dr. Patel
Himanshu J. Patel, M.D. 

The investigational device treats thoracic aortic aneurysms, which generally occur in the elderly and can lead to a life-threatening rupture of the aorta. Although thoracic aortic aneurysms are less common than abdominal aortic aneurysms, a TAA rupture remains a fatal event. Designed to seal-off a hard-to-treat section of the aorta, the device potentially provides a safe and less invasive alternative to open heart surgery.

The first human recipient of the GORE® TAG® Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis was an 84-year-old woman. The device had previously only been used in laboratory studies. The procedure marks the beginning of Evaluation of the GORE® TAG® Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis in the Treatment of Proximal Descending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms, a U.S.-based multi-center feasibility study sponsored by W.L. Gore & Associates.

“Thoracic aortic aneurysms that encroach on the aortic arch make treating these challenging anatomies very difficult, leaving physicians no choice but to use more invasive surgical techniques or to cover the branch vessel,” says Himanshu Patel, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon and the leader of the team coordinating the study at U-M. “Using GORE® TAG® Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis, we were able to successfully treat the first patient in the study using endovascular means only. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using branched stent-grafts to treat aortic aneurysms that involve the left subclavian artery.”

Through thoracic branch technology and design, the Gore device fits the unique characteristics of the descending aorta, allowing physicians to treat a subset of patients that in the past could not be considered for total endovascular repair.

Endovascular repair uses real-time x-ray and guide wires to help deliver a graft, inserted via catheter, to exclude the lesion inside the diseased aorta, making a new path for blood to flow. Through this less invasive technique, physicians can treat conditions through small incisions in the groin that might otherwise require open chest surgery.

To connect with a member of the U-M team coordinating the study, call M-LINE at 800-962-3555.