Advancing Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Minimizes Surgical Trauma

Dr. Joe Wells

First in Hays County to Treat AAA with Endovascular Graft

KYLE, TX – (July 29, 2010) – Dr. Joe Wells, a vascular surgeon with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, completed the first minimally invasive procedure for abdominal aortic aneurysms, using an endovascular stent graft, in Hays County. The operation was performed at Seton Medical Center Hays (SMCH) , a member of the Seton Family of Hospitals.

Each year approximately 200,000 new cases of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are diagnosed. An AAA, a bulge in the aorta, can rupture with life-threatening results and is the leading cause of death from aneurysms.

To complete the new procedure, Dr. Wells uses a device that relines the abdominal aorta and isolates the aneurysm from blood circulation. Inserted by a catheter-based delivery technique through small incisions in the patient’s legs, the outcomes of this new treatment option include decreased procedural times and shorter hospital stays.

Prior to endoluminal graft devices, repairing an AAA required a standard open surgical procedure involving a larger incision, longer hospital stay and more painful recovery. “This is a game changer, it allows us to repair these aneurysms in patients who normally would’ve been passed over for surgery due to age or sickness,” said Dr. Joe Wells a specializing in minimally invasive vascular procedures, such as endoluminal abdominal aneurysm repair, arterial balloon angioplasty and stent placement.

“This less invasive procedure extends the longevity of our patients by eliminating the possibility of rupture causing death.” After experiencing severe lower back pain and visiting his primary care physician, Lewis Daws was sent to Dr. Wells who identified a large aneurysm in danger of rupturing. He had surgery on a Wednesday and was home by Thursday.

“After one week he felt good and was back to walking a little every day,” said John Daws, son of the patient. “He turns 89 next month and last night was out to dinner with friends. The way he’s bounced back from this is totally amazing to me.”