left to right: Brian Peterson, MD, vascular surgeon; Fremont Bliggenstorfer, AAA patient; and Lesley Endermuhle, FNP-C, nurse practitioner
A new device that could allow some abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
patients to avoid open aortic surgery is being tested at St. Anthony’s Medical Center with two of the earliest patients in the country to receive the device.
“As patients with AAA age, the aneurysm grows,” explained Dr. Peterson. “Not only do they expand in diameter, they also tend to grow longer. That added length can cause the aorta to twist and turn, which is what we call angulation.
“That angulation typically rules out the possibility of a less-invasive endovascular repair. This new treatment may be the answer to provide not just the less-invasive repair, but a repair that is more durable.”
The study includes two sub-studies based on the patients’ anatomies: one is a short neck study for aortic neck angles up to 60 degrees; the other is a high neck study for aortic neck angles of 61 to 90 degrees. On March 1, 2018, Dr. Peterson became the first surgeon to implant a device in the high neck sub-study. On Feb. 13, 2018, Dr. Peterson enrolled Fremont Bliggenstorfer, 82, as one of the first ten patients in the short neck sub-study.
Mr. Bliggenstorfer’s primary care physician has been tracking the aneurysm for the last several years and decided action need to be taken. When Mr. Bliggenstorfer first met Dr. Peterson, they discussed his possible treatment. On a visit just a week later, Dr. Peterson explained to Mr. Bliggenstorfer that he was an excellent candidate for this study.
“I looked up how they do it and it’s fantastic,” Mr. Bliggenstorfer said. “It’s fascinating and I’m glad to be with Dr. Peterson for this procedure.”
A month after the repair, the aneurysm is shrinking, and Mr. Bliggenstorfer says he feels the same as before. The second patient also is recovering as expected and both patients have returned to their daily routines.
This is not the first time Dr. Peterson has led the way in new treatments for aneurysms. In 2013, he was the first surgeon in the world
to implant the iliac branch stent graft to treat aortic and iliac aneurysms.