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Your Health: A new tracking tool to detect aortic aneurysms

Your Health: A new tracking tool to detect aortic aneurysms
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 5:23 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - More than 17,000 people die every year from aortic aneurysms.

It’s a balloon-like bulge in the aorta, the artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest to the rest of the body. If the aneurysm ruptures, a patient could die -- and many have no symptoms prior to death.

Researchers have created a new tracking method that could help patients who are diagnosed before tragedy strikes.

Doctors at Michigan Medicine detected an aortic aneurysm in Dave Gordon about three years ago. They’ve monitored its growth using a new 3D measuring system called vascular deformation mapping.

“My surgeon, then, basically advised me and said ‘OK, it’s gotten to the size that we probably need to operate on this and fix it,’” Gordon recalled.

“Ultimately, what we’re trying to figure out with this technique, in the long term, is who really needs that surgery and who probably doesn’t,” said Dr. Nicholas Burris.

Without vascular deformation mapping, the size of the aneurysm is measured by people who look for changes by comparing flat CT images taken months apart.

But with vascular deformation mapping, several high-def images are aligned to create a 3D data set. It calculates growth with greater accuracy and it may be a better way to determine if and when surgery is needed.

Aortic aneurysms are often asymptomatic. Most -- like Gordon’s -- are found through unrelated medical tests and surgically repaired when necessary. His treatment leading to more smiles with friends, for years to come.

The researchers are hoping to get FDA approval for vascular deformation mapping by 2024.

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