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Body's own veins provide superior material for aortic grafts
Date:12/30/2009

DALLAS Dec. 30, 2009 A vascular surgical technique pioneered at UT Southwestern Medical Center and designed to replace infected aortic grafts with the body's own veins has proved more durable and less prone to new infection than similar procedures using synthetic and cadaver grafts.

Aortic graft infections are one of the most serious complications in patients undergoing aortic grafting procedures for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and aortic aneurysms. PAD reduces blood circulation in the pelvis and lower extremities, and aortic aneurysms result in a weakening of the aortic wall that can cause lethal rupture of the aorta, the largest artery in the body. Patients with PAD and aortic aneurysms often require surgery, and aortic grafting procedures using synthetic grafts are typically the first line of treatment.

For patients with PAD, the procedure restores blood circulation to the legs, and for patients with aneurysm, it replaces the weakened aortic wall and prevents rupture. Synthetic grafts made of Dacron, a polyester material, are placed in the aorta and femoral arteries in the abdomen and groin, which feed blood to the legs. But in about 1 percent to 2 percent of these patients, the grafts become infected a complication that causes amputation and death if left untreated.

Dr. G. Patrick Clagett, chief of vascular surgery at UT Southwestern, pioneered a technique called the neo-aortoiliac system (NAIS) that repairs these aortic-graft infections. The procedure involves removing the infected graft and replacing it with sections of femoral-popliteal veins harvested from the patient's thighs, rather than another synthetic graft or vessels harvested from human cadavers.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, Dr. Clagett and his team reported on 187 patients at UT Southwestern treated for aortic graft infections who underwent the NAIS procedure from 1990 to 2006. It is the largest group of
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Contact: Katherine Morales
katherine.morales@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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