The UK study at Guys Hospital, London, involved 190 patients in a prospective database from 1997 to 2006. All patients had diseased aortas in the thoracic area, such as degenerative aneurysm, dissections, ulcer, and other pathology. In the second study, coming out of a major trauma centre in Canada, all of the patients were healthy without an underlying disease, but had suffered a violent life-threatening injury to the thoracic portion of the aorta.

Since there was no underlying pathology, it was clear in the surgical trauma group that adverse events were not due to underlying disease, and could be more clearly attributed to the procedure. In both institutions, the data strongly suggests that the interventional treatment was not only an important option to consider, but should be the treatment of choice.

The incidence of death and permanent paralysis in the London group, which only included the interventional treatment, was 1.6 percent. In the trauma study, which also included a comparison to surgery, there was a 7.4 percent incidence of pneumonia and no incidences of death or paralysis in the interventional patients. In the surgery group, there was an eleven percent incidence of death, a 15.6 percent incidence of paralysis, and a 37.5 percent incidence of pneumonia.

“Repairing a thoracic aorta should primarily be done with a stent-graft. Compared to surgery, the interventional treatment has a much lower risk of paralysis, less than two percent compared to open surgery which has approximately a ten percent risk, even in the best of hands,” stated interventional radiologist John Reidy, M.D., of Guys Hospital, London, England. “Placing a stent-graft is minimally invasive and much less traumatic for the patient. They avoid general anaesthesia and have less problems with infection because there is no large chest incision.”; Source: Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR)