2 The condition, current treatments and procedure

2 The condition, current treatments and procedure

The condition

2.1 Aortic aneurysms develop when the wall of the aorta weakens, causing it to bulge and form a balloon-like expansion. They can happen in the chest (thoracic aortic aneurysms) or, more commonly, below the diaphragm (abdominal aortic aneurysms).

Current treatments

2.2 The standard treatment for aortic aneurysm is either open surgical or endovascular repair. During open surgical repair the aneurysm is opened and a graft is sewn in above and below the weakened area to allow normal blood flow. Endovascular repair is a minimally invasive alternative to open repair. A graft is mounted on a stent, which is inserted into the aorta through catheters placed in the femoral arteries. The stent–graft is deployed under X-ray guidance and positioned across the aneurysm.

2.3 In endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR) procedures, the stent–graft can sometimes leak (endoleak) or move out of place (migrate), or a person's anatomy can make its placement difficult. Type 1 endoleaks happen around the top or bottom of grafts and are often caused by an inadequate seal.

The procedure

2.4 Endoanchoring systems aim to improve the fixation of the stent–graft used in EVAR. They may be used prophylactically or therapeutically at the same time as the primary procedure or during a later, secondary procedure to treat an endoleak or migration.

2.5 Endoanchoring implants are inserted under general or local anaesthesia. The implants are deployed through an applier device consisting of a catheter and a control handle. The catheter is advanced until the distal end contacts the stent–graft and vessel wall. The number of implants needed depends on the type of stent–graft and the size of the native vessel. They are placed as evenly as possible around the circumference of the stent–graft. The catheter is then removed, the holes in the femoral arteries are sutured and the groin wounds are closed.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)