The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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June 7, 2014

New procedure available at Mercy (with VIDEO)

CLINTON — Dr. Rammohan Marla, a thoracic and vascular surgeon with Medical Associates, says a new procedure at Mercy Medical Center will make a significant difference in the treatment of abdominal aorta aneurysms.

In April, Marla performed the first Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm Endovascular Graft, or AAA Endograft at Mercy Medical Center. The procedure places a synthetic graft or stent in the abdominal aorta through two punctures in the groin area, instead of through invasive surgery.

“There’s a lot of need for this because there’s a lot of patients with aneurysms,”Marla said. He added that the most common type of aneurysm appears below the kidneys.

The aorta carries oxygen-filled blood from a person’s heart throughout their body. The abdominal aorta, which is the main artery located in the abdomen, can become weak due to vascular disease, injury, or a genetic defect. Once this happens, the aorta cannot support the flow of blood, resulting in a ballooning of the aorta, known as an aneurysm.

If an aneurysm ruptures, Marla said the mortality rate is approximately 80 percent. Currently, Marla knows of 20 or 30 patients with aneurysms just below the threshold of needing to be fixed.

In a press release, Dr. Surendra Kumar, vice president of quality and patient safety and chief medical officer at Mercy Medical Center, said the appearance of the AAA Endograft at Mercy shows the facility’s “ongoing commitment to quality patient care.”

“This procedure enhances our capabilities to perform the level of care for a patient that up until now could only be done at a tertiary or academic hospitals or care centers across the nation,” Kumar said.

Before the AAA Endograft, treating abdominal aneurysms required a doctor to make an incision from a patient’s lower chest to the pubic area in a surgery which could last as much as six hours. The patient would then be required to stay in the hospital at least a week.

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