Charlotte County's First Minimally Invasive Repair
November 22, 2010
Dr. Mamoon Jarrah performs Charlotte County’s First Minimally Invasive Repair for Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm at Fawcett Memorial Hospital
Port Charlotte, FL (November 9, 2010) - Dr. Mamoon Jarrah, a thoracic surgeon at Fawcett Memorial Hospital, recently performed the first endovascular repair for a thoracic aortic aneurysm in Charlotte County at Fawcett Memorial Hospital. This is exciting news for our community, because it represents yet another example of how our local physicians provide the most advanced health care and surgical techniques available.
“Aortic Aneurysm” is the term used to describe a swelling of the aorta, which is the body’s largest artery. The aorta starts at the left ventricle of the heart and extends through the chest region into the abdomen, where it branches off into smaller arteries to carry blood throughout the body. When the aorta swells from an aneurysm, the blood vessel stretches and may become weak at the location of the swelling. Aortic aneurysms are most commonly found in the abdomen; however a thoracic aortic aneurysm is located in the chest.
Hypertension and smoking are risk factors, although genetic factors are also very important. A thoracic aortic aneurysm can also be caused by a blunt injury to the chest. Dr. Jarrah explained that often, a patient will not experience any symptoms at all. However, as a thoracic aortic aneurysm enlarges, a patient may experience discomfort or pain, typically in the back area. Severe pain may occur if the aneurysm begins to rupture. “It is very important that we regularly monitor a patient’s aneurysm. A CAT Scan, or chest X-Ray, will show if a thoracic aortic aneurysm is present,” said Dr. Jarrah. Although the greatest risk for a patient with an aortic aneurysm is rupture, according to Dr. Jarrah, not all aortic aneurysms need to be repaired. “Some never need repair,” said Jarrah. “However, if they grow past a certain size, then we need to examine repair options.”
When a repair is needed, surgery is required. Traditionally, the surgery involves opening the chest cavity to graft a synthetic ‘patch’ inside the aorta. With an open surgery, the risk of complications is much higher, and a patient would be hospitalized for two to three weeks following the procedure. By using an endoscopic approach, Dr. Jarrah is able to perform the repair by placing a stent at the aneurysm location, after making a very small incision in the groin. This minimally invasive approach greatly reduces the risk of complications and shortens the patient’s hospital stay to only a few days, instead of weeks. “This is a highly specialized approach, and it is much more commonly used when the aneurysm is located in the abdomen,” said Dr. Jarrah. He has performed over 500 of these procedures at Fawcett Memorial Hospital for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms. New advances in thoracic surgery have enabled this minimally invasive technique to benefit patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms, who may be at higher risk for complications or may not be able to tolerate an open surgery. Punta Gorda resident Ms. Olive Salmen was just such a candidate.
Ms. Salmen was diagnosed with a thoracic aortic aneurysm approximately two years ago. Since that time, Dr. Jarrah has monitored the progression of her aneurysm. Occasionally, she experienced some pain, “but not all the time,” said Ms. Salmen. A few months ago, Dr. Jarrah decided that it was time for repair. Ms. Salmen was admitted to Fawcett Memorial Hospital, where she became the first patient in Charlotte County to benefit from this cutting edge procedure to treat her thoracic aortic aneurysm. “Dr. Jarrah is wonderful! He is so nice and he stood right by my side. I trust him completely,” said Salmen.
Ms. Salmen spent just five days in the hospital before being discharged home. She added, “The Fawcett team is the best! From ICU through discharge, they were very good to me and my family. They kept my family informed and explained everything.”
Dr. Jarrah received specialized training for endovascular repair of thoracic aortic aneurysm in Chicago. He is the only physician in our area who is trained to perform this procedure. Dr. Jarrah has been a well-respected member of the medical staff at Fawcett Memorial Hospital for over 28 years. He is a member of Fawcett’s Board of Trustees and he currently serves as Chairman of Fawcett’s Cardiovascular Council. For more information about thoracic aortic aneurysm or for answers to your healthcare questions, please call Consult-A-Nurse at 941-624-4441 or visit FawcettHospital.com.
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