Patient: Vascular Surgeon with a “Calling” Saved My Life
ALBANY, N.Y., July 7, 2014 – Last December, Thomas Seton, a 57-year-old husband and father from Syracuse, was rushed to Albany Medical Center with a life-threatening tear in a major artery that physicians in Syracuse could not repair.
Waiting for him at Albany Med was vascular surgeon Manish Mehta, MD, MPH – the physician who ultimately saved his life – who performs a procedure that only very few surgeons do.
Mr. Seton had suffered a complicated Thoracic Aortic Dissection that required emergent repair.
The tear in his aorta extended across the aortic arch and into all vital arteries that supply blood to the brain and upper extremities. Such aortic dissections can often result in internal bleeding, stroke, or sudden death. The complexity of the surgery combined with his underlying health conditions compelled the local area hospital to refer him to Albany Medical Center for treatment.
Dr. Mehta, professor of surgery and an endowed chair for Vascular Education at Albany Medical College and a physician with the Vascular Group, PLLC, is one of only a few surgeons in the nation to perform a unique minimally invasive procedure to treat complicated endovascular thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections like the one Seton had.
An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in an artery which can grow and rupture, or dissect and split. Both conditions cause internal bleeding and often are fatal. Approximately 13,000 Americans die each year from aortic aneurysms – with the majority of deaths resulting from a rupture or dissection.
“With high-risk patients, sometimes traditional surgical treatments are either of significant risk, or not viable options,” said Dr. Mehta. “Managing extensive thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections through a minimally invasive procedure is a game changer for patients like Thomas who don’t have many options because of the complexity of their cases.”
Dr. Mehta uses readily-available FDA-approved devices to perform aneurysm and dissection repair. During the procedure, tubular stent grafts are inserted through small delivery catheters into the arteries via the groin or arm that leads to the aorta. The stent graft is placed in the healthy aorta above and below the location of the aneurysm or dissection. When fully expanded, these tubular stent grafts reinforce the dissected or aneurysmal aortic wall. In Mr. Seton’s case, Dr. Mehta and his team were not only able to exclude the thoracic aortic dissection that spanned across his aortic arch, but by creating stent graft “snorkels” they were also able to maintain blood flow to his head and neck, as well as throughout his body.
Over the last year, Dr. Mehta and his team have performed nearly 40 complex endovascular thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs that required innovative stent graft snorkels and branches at Albany Med – saving the lives of many patients unable to receive treatment elsewhere in the region.
“In the recent years, improvements in endovascular and surgical techniques and technology have exposed us to a changing paradigm in managing complex aortic aneurysms and dissections,” said Dr. Mehta. “I have been blessed with this opportunity and I truly have enjoyed the journey in finding new solutions for my patients. As health care providers we have an obligation to be innovative and find simpler solutions to complex problems that our patients face each day. At the end of the day, our goal is simple – to provide the best possible care for our patients.”
“Sometimes you meet people and think, they have found their calling,” said Seton. “Dr. Mehta has definitely found his. I just hope that if this situation happens to someone else that their medical provider is aware of the life-saving work that Dr. Mehta and Albany Medical Center is doing here every day and they get the same high-quality treatment I received. Dr. Mehta saved my life.”
Albany Med’s vascular program is comprised of one of the most highly-regarded vascular teams and one of the largest providers of care for vascular disease in the nation; and the largest provider in the northeast. The team is visited regularly by colleagues worldwide and has pioneered numerous procedures that are now standard in the field.
For more information about Albany Med’s vascular program and vascular treatments offered at Albany Med, please visit http://www.amc.edu/Patient/services/Surgery/endovascular_surgery/vascular_surgery/.
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 734-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region’s largest physicians practice with more than 400 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region’s health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.
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