Transfemoral Intraluminal Graft Implantation for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

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      This study reports on animal experimentation and initial clinical trials exploring the feasibility of exclusion of an abdominal aortic aneurysm by placement of an intraluminal, stent-anchored, Dacron prosthetic graft using retrograde cannulation of the common femoral artery under local or regional anesthesia. Experiments showed that when a balloon-expandable stent was sutured to the partially overlapping ends of a tubular, knitted Dacron graft, friction seals were created which fixed the ends of the graft to the vessel wall. This excludes the aneurysm from circulation and allows normal flow through the graft lumen. Initial treatment in five patients with serious co-morbidities is described. Each patient had an individually tailored balloon diameter and diameter and length of their Dacron graft. Standard stents were used and the diameter of the stent-graft was determined by sonography, computed tomography, and arteriography. In three of them a cephalic stent was used without a distal stent. In two other patients both ends of the Dacron tubular stent were attached to stents using a one-third stent overlap. In these latter two, once the proximal neck of the aneurysm was reached, the sheath was withdrawn and the cephalic balloon inflated with a saline/contrast solution. The catheter was gently removed caudally towards the arterial entry site In the groin to keep tension on the graft, and the second balloon inflated so as to deploy the second stent. Four of the five patients had heparin reversal at the end of the procedure. We are encouraged by this early experience, but believe that further developments and more clinical trials are needed before this technique becomes widely used.

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