THE CONDITION: AORTIC DILATION AND DISSECTION
One of the common features of connective tissue disorders such as Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is aortic dilation. People affected by these conditions are at risk of aortic dissection.
THE CONVENTIONAL APPROACH: REPLACEMENT OF THE AORTA
The current standard surgical means of preventing aortic dissection is to replace the ascending aorta, with or without replacement of the aortic valve. During surgery, the ascending aorta and aortic valve are removed and replaced by an artificial graft. To prevent blood clots forming on the replaced valve, the patient has to take anticoagulant drugs for the rest of his or her life.
Alternatively a valve sparing procedure can be done in which the patient’s aortic valve is retained and fixed within the external mesh of an artificial tubular graft material that replaces the weakened aorta. One advantage of this approach is that anticoagulant therapy is not required.
THE NEW APPROACH: THE EXOVASC®PERSONALISED EXTERNAL AORTIC ROOT SUPPORT
The ExoVasc® Personalised External Aortic Root Support aims to provide an alternative to aortic root replacement. A custom-made external support is made to exactly match the patient’s aorta. This is placed around the ascending aorta, which remains intact. Since the vessel and the valve remain intact, the surgery is more straightforward and there is no need for the patient to take anticoagulant drugs.