Back to the Heart of Life Thanks to New Aneurysm Approach

TEVAR Cardiologist Matt Schmidt Aortic AneurysmIn late 2015, Pulaski resident, Tom, was diagnosed with a small aneurysm in the upper part of his aorta after seeing his primary care doctor for what he thought was merely a simple cough. Tom is a retired athletic director and school superintendent and always has led a very active lifestyle. For Tom, he never thought he would ever have heart problems, as he had no previous health issues and sees his doctor regularly. 

Luckily for Tom, on January 27, 2016, he was among the first patients at Aurora BayCare Medical Center to undergo a less invasive approach called thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR). TEVAR is a new method to treating an aneurysm in the upper part of the aorta, your body’s largest artery. An aneurysm is a weak, bulging area in the aorta wall. If it ruptures, it can be deadly.

TEVAR offers patients the ability to get back to their normal life quickly with a short recovery time of just one to two days in the hospital. There is also no post-surgery rehabilitation or physical therapy needed.

Prior to the TEVAR approach, thoracic aneurysms were difficult to treat with minimally invasive endovascular methods. The TEVAR procedure was recommended and performed by Dr. Matthew Schmidt, interventional cardiologist, and the cardiovascular team at Aurora BayCare.

“This approach is so slick,” says Tom, “and really is minimally invasive.” A quick recovery was important to him. Tom’s passion is training and competing in field, walking, and horseback trial competitions with his two Brittany Spaniels. He competes with his bird dogs all over the Midwest, and staying active is key to keeping up with the trials.

Watch the Health Watch segment featuring Tom and Dr. Schmidt or listen as Dr. Schmidt explains the TEVAR approach in detail.

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