You are here

200th Complex Aortic Repair at UMass Memorial Medical Center Was a Birthday Present for a Raynham Man

They have done it 200 times so far. The UMass Memorial Center for Complex Aortic Disease has performed 200 minimally invasive complex aortic aneurysm repairs for a dangerous weakening of the walls of the main artery in the abdomen.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have been able to offer 200 patients a minimally invasive repair of their complex aortic aneurysms,” said Andres Schanzer, MD, chief of vascular surgery and director of the UMass Memorial Center for Complex Aortic Disease. “These patients come to us from all over the United States and Europe to receive this transformative repair strategy, and at our current volume, we are now positioned as the second busiest complex aortic center in the United States.” 

The UMass Memorial Center for Complex Aortic Disease is one of nine centers in the United States with access to custom-made endografts and one of three of these centers in the country that can also use physician-modified endografts (through a clinical trial.) Internationally, there are only a handful of centers that have treated this large number of patients and achieved this important milestone. There is no other center in New England with access to these minimally invasive devices for complex aortic aneurysms. 

This structured, multi-disciplinary team, boasts a success rate higher than 90 percent, a 30-day mortality rate under 3 percent, and a one-year survival rate of 87 percent. Their one year aortic-rupture rate is 0 percent.

 If the aorta bursts, it can cause serious bleeding that can quickly lead to death. While the wall of the aorta is normally very elastic enabling it to stretch and shrink as needed to adapt to blood flow, medical problems, such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can weaken the artery walls. When added to the wear and tear that naturally occurs with aging, it can result in a weak aortic wall that bulges outward. In the worst case, an aneurysm can burst, or rupture causing severe pain and bleeding and often leads to death within minutes to hours. 

It was a double-down day for Joseph Cardoso of Raynham.  He was the 200th patient to undergo this procedure at UMass Memorial and it was his 82nd birthday.  The UMass Memorial Center for Complex Aortic Disease team celebrated with him and his wife, Patricia, with a birthday cake when he woke up from anesthesia. 

“After five years of watching this aneurysm on sonograms, my wife and I decided it was time to have the surgery,” said Joe.  “It was always in the back of my mind”. 

“I call Dr. Schanzer ‘the magician.’ By the next day I was able to go home,” he continued.  “It knocked the wind out of my sails for a few days, but I’m taking back my chores from my wife and I have a lawn to take care of.” 

“Patients who come to the UMass Memorial Center for Complex Aortic Disease are living with a daily fear that their aneurysm may rupture,” said Devon Robichaud, NP, clinical coordinator, UMass Memorial Center for Complex Aortic Disease. “Many patients have already been told they are too high risk for a traditional repair or that there is no surgical option for them.  With this technology and our expert team providing a complex repair, patients can live a more-active and less-stressful life.” 

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, “UMass Memorial Health Care's flagship hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center, is the only hospital in New England providing custom manufactured fenestrated endovascular grafts for the minimally invasive thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm treatment. The hospital's Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery and Vascular Lab are among the busiest in Massachusetts, performing more than 3,000 procedures and 18,000 non-invasive vascular studies annually.”