UNC Aortic Disease Information for Physicians
About UNC Aortic Disease Management
Aortic Disease Management at UNC Health Care is unique in the Southeast for its comprehensiveness and quality of care. From medical management and minimally invasive procedures to hybrid therapies and open procedures, aortic specialists at UNC provide a complete continuum of care for all types of aortic conditions including aortic dissections, thoracic aortic aneurysms, thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms (TAAA), abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), aortic transections and injuries, mesenteric ischemia and aortoiliac occlusive disease.
UNC is one the leading centers in the Southeast, and one of only a few centers in the entire United States to offer comprehensive minimally invasive treatment of complex aortic disease. At UNC, you will find aortic specialists able to apply cutting-edge minimally invasive treatment that is not available at 99% of centers in the United States. This includes treatment of thoracoabdominal aneurysms (TAAA), which may be performed using fenestrated and branched endovascular repair of aneurysms. Emergent and urgent aortic pathologies including aortic dissections, traumatic aortic transections, and ruptures of thoracoabdominal and abdominal aneurysms may also be treated by minimally invasive techniques. At UNC you will find a 24/7 operating room staff dedicated to treating aortic disease. Aortic specialists work in collaboration with other specialists in interventional radiology and anesthesiology, in determining the best therapy for each patient including participation in clinical trials if eligible. In addition, we have the expertise in hematological (blood) disorders often required for aortic surgery, along with the blood bank resources to cope with its massive transfusion requirements.
UNC also has around the clock transportation by ground or air, with two on-call helicopters for emergencies. Both cardiothoracic and vascular surgery aortic specialists at UNC provide expert professional consultation and treatment for any type of aortic pathology. Our ability to definitively treat all disorders, from the aortic valve to the common femoral artery – whether open or endovascular – is unmatched in the region.
Because of our extensive collaboration, and the breadth of treatment options available here, patients are able to receive the treatment that is personally designed for their unique situation whether it be open, hybrid or a minimally invasive approach.
UNC Aortic Disease Management is an ideal choice for aneurysm screening paid for by Medicare as well as private insurers of those over age 50 with familial risk. UNC Health Care has the most advanced diagnostic technologies available, with renowned specialists to interpret testing and explain the results to the patient, then map out treatment strategies for those found to have aortic pathology.
With world-renowned specialists in the treatment of aortic conditions, UNC Health Care leads the way in conducting clinical trials for the advancement of leading-edge aortic treatments. As a result of that commitment to developing new procedures and treatments, 95% of UNC Health Care aortic health patients who require procedures can now be treated with minimally invasive techniques.
These extraordinary advances in endovascular techniques are a major step forward for our patients, who have access to procedures not available in other major medical centers. Patients treated with these minimally invasive procedures are, in general, able to heal faster and with less pain, and return home sooner, with the least disruption to their lives.
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Trials
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Trials
Weighing Medical Management vs. Surgery
Despite a diagnosis of aortic disease, not every patient is in immediate need of surgery. In cases where repair of the aortic condition is recommended, the patient's risk factors are evaluated to determine the best method of treatment; minimally invasive endovascular therapy, traditional open surgical repair or a hybrid approach.
Aortic specialists here will try to slow or halt the growth of the aneurysm with medicines for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or other conditions that may contribute to the risk of aneurysm rupture, then follow the patient's progress closely to adjust treatment as needed. In situations where additional conditions such as heart problems play a role in the patient's heath, aortic specialists will work closely with cardiologists or other experts to help ensure the best possible outcome. At UNC Health Care, the breadth of advanced care resources assures that patients will receive the most appropriate care for their individual condition.
In patients suspected of having a genetic reason for their conditions, UNC prescribe testing for two important reasons: First, to make sure that the patient's children are also screened and treated accordingly. And second, because past research has discovered that patients with a genetic component may have more brittle arterial walls than those with sclerotic weakening, so the course of treatment may be affected.
Additional Information & Resources