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Arizona Heart Institute First to Implant Powerlink XL in Phoenix, Arizona Since FDA Approval
Date:10/31/2008

New Device Expands Less Invasive Surgical Options for Patients with Aortic

Aneurysms

PHOENIX, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona Heart Institute announced today that its Division of Vascular Surgery was the first to implant, in Phoenix, the Powerlink XL, a newly FDA-approved, minimally invasive device for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). The procedure was performed at Arizona Heart Hospital by Julio Rodriguez-Lopez, M.D., Vascular Surgeon and Director of Peripheral Vascular Services at Arizona Heart Institute and Arizona Heart Hospital, who repaired a 6 cm aneurysm in a patient having an aortic neck diameter of 30 mm.

AAA is a weakening in the wall of the abdominal aorta which results in a balloon-like enlargement. About 1.7 million Americans have AAAs, and the incidence of the condition increases with age. An enlarged AAA leaves the aorta vulnerable to rupture which can lead to internal bleeding and death in many cases. Ruptured AAA is the 13th leading cause of death in the United States. The minimally invasive treatment, called endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), is performed through a small incision in the groin with the device inserted through a catheter. Since the early 1990s, Arizona Heart Institute has pioneered the research and development of new devices for the treatment of AAA and has among the largest worldwide experience with the EVAR technique.

"The procedure with Powerlink XL was very successful and we are pleased to have this new technology available to treat our AAA patients with large diameter aortic necks," said Dr. Rodriguez. "The low-profile Powerlink System enables us to effectively treat AAA patients with challenging anatomy and lower the risk of surgical complications compared to invasive open surgery."

The Endologix Powerlink XL is an addition to the FDA-approved Powerlink System that allows for treatment of aortic necks up to 32 millimeters in diameter. The new Powerlink XL is the lowest profile device on the market to treat aortic necks in excess of 26 millimeters and is the only available device with both infrarenal and suprarenal proximal extensions, allowing physicians to choose the best device for each patient's anatomy.

Arizona Heart Institute is a cardiovascular specialty facility known worldwide for its excellence in clinical care, research and education. Edward B. Diethrich, M.D., Founder and Medical Director of Arizona Heart Institute and Arizona Heart Hospital noted that the Powerlink XL is a significant advancement in the less invasive treatment of complex abdominal aneurysm. "We will now be able to offer these devices to patients who otherwise would have to undergo a major invasive surgical procedure," said Dr. Diethrich.

About AAA

AAAs are often caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening and weakening of the arteries. Left untreated, AAAs can burst or rupture, leading to severe internal bleeding, shock and death. Approximately half of all AAAs go undetected because patients do not experience symptoms. Presence of symptoms may depend on the location and size of the aneurysm and whether a dissection is present. Symptoms of aortic rupture can occur suddenly with severe, sharp pain in the back and abdomen. Patients who experience these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Early detection of aortic aneurysms can prevent sudden death; therefore, patients with a family history of aortic aneurysm or other connective tissue disorders should notify their physician about their risks. Aneurysms can be easily diagnosed using simple imaging studies. If the AAA is small (around four or less centimeters in diameter), the physician may simply recommend monitoring the size and shape of the aneurysm every six months while also addressing other risk factors such as high blood pressure to reduce the degree of pressure on the weakened area of the aneurysm. Large, symptomatic AAAs require prompt attention to prevent rupture and are typically treated by a vascular surgeon with either open surgical repair or less invasive, endoluminal graft repair.

About Arizona Heart Institute

Arizona Heart Institute is among the world's leading providers of cardiovascular care. This visionary organization was founded in 1971, quickly evolving into the country's first freestanding outpatient clinic solely dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart and blood vessel disease. Since then, Arizona Heart Institute has grown to expand treatment and research options with the opening of Arizona Heart Hospital in 1998 and the dedication of Arizona Heart Institute Translational Research Center in 2007. Through these unique facilities, Arizona Heart Institute offers the most contemporary and comprehensive approach to cardiovascular medicine and an unmatched level of specialty care. For more information, please visit http://www.azheart.com, or contact mcocco@azheart.com.


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SOURCE Arizona Heart Institute
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