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20 years treating aneurysm of abdominal aorta

Posted on 15-04-2014

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the introduction in Spain of endovascular (minimally invasive) treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms, which was done by Prof. Dr. Manuel Maynar in Gran Canaria. It is currently a widespread treatment, but in 1994 it was ground breaking for modern medicine and contributed to improving the quality of life of patients and to reducing the mortality rate among those affected by the condition.

Hospiten professor and physician, Manuel Maynar, was a pioneer in the application of the technique, which contributed to reducing mortality rates and to substantially improving the quality of life of patients suffering the condition.

From 50 years of age, around 3% of the population suffers aortic aneurysms - a degenerative bulging of the artery that may even burst the artery. At 65 years of age, that percentage is estimated to rise to 10%, which represents more than 800,000 of the 8.2 million people over 65 in Spain, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) at January 1, 2013.

The technique, introduced in Spain by Dr. Maynar, allows abdominal aortic aneurysms to be treated by inserting a stent graft through the femoral artery instead of carrying out the traditional surgical procedure, thus significantly shortening the duration of procedure, the time the patient is in hospital and the risks associated with anesthesia.

The first patient to be implanted with an aortic stent graft in Spain in 1994, Dolores Garcia, assures us that she has completely forgotten about whole process, “because it didn’t hurt at all and I haven’t had any more trouble”. The only thing she remembers is the initial fright, when she was first diagnosed.

University professor and lecturer at ULPGC (the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), Dr. Maynar is currently the Head of the Endoluminal/Endovascular Diagnostics and Therapeutics Service at Hospiten, where he plays an important role in research and application of the so-called minimally invasive, or keyhole, techniques, which are today applied in a number of treatments in heart surgery, orthopedic surgery and trauma, gynecology, gastroenterology and ophthalmology, among others, and in which the Canary healthcare group has often been pioneer.

The operation Dolores Garcia was subjected to using minimally invasive techniques was broadcast via satellite to more than 300 universities in Latin America through TEI (educational television).

The greatest complication is the rupture of the aorta, associated with a very high mortality rate, around 90% of cases. The probability of rupture is proportional to the size of the aneurysm - in the case the aneurysm measures anything larger than 5 cm, reparation is recommended.

As Manuel Maynar explains, in many cases the rupture can happen with no appreciable prior symptoms, so the best way to avoid such a high mortality rate is to carry out preventive screening by ultrasound in patients over 60 and operate the aneurysm patient before rupture. In these controlled cases, the survival rate is above 98%.

Aneurysms are four times more common in men than in women and, generally after 55-60 years of age. Those at more risk are smokers and those with high blood pressure. In addition to other factors like a family history of abdominal aneurysm or in any other part of the body, arteriosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries), those with heart disease and a family history of vascular problems.