A Life-Changing Discovery
Nearly two months after Ed was diagnosed with prostate cancer, a routine urologic work-up delivered a new blow, this one even more devastating: He had a very large abdominal aortic aneurysm — a potentially life-threatening “bulge” in the body’s main blood vessel.
Ed was shocked. He hadn’t experienced any symptoms, which is not uncommon for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. And, most are found incidentally, as his was.
Time was of the essence. Surgery is generally recommended when an abdominal aortic aneurysm is 5 centimeters or larger because of the risk of rupture. Ed’s was 9 centimeters!
Once an abdominal aortic aneurysm ruptures, death is almost certain without immediate treatment.
Getting Treatment Fast
Ed made an appointment that day at the Temple Heart & Vascular Institute with Frank Schmieder, MD, FACS, Chief of Vascular Surgery at Jeanes Hospital, who impressed upon him the urgent need to operate.
A couple of days later, Dr. Schmieder performed an endovascular aneurysm repair on Ed. This advanced, minimally invasive procedure uses a small catheter to place a compressed stent at the site of the aneurysm. The stent then opens to provide a strong, tight-fitting scaffold for the aortic wall.
It’s a safer technique than the traditional surgery because it requires only small incisions at the groin, rather than a large one across the abdomen. This often translates into less time in the hospital, decreased blood loss and a decreased risk of infection.