br hos2222222222Endovascular surgeons at Boca Raton Regional Hospital are now utilizing the Zenith® t-Branch™ Stent Graft to repair life-threatening thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms (TAAAs). The device and surgical technique is only available at eight centers in the country. Boca Regional is the only hospital in South Florida and one of two in the state, the other being the University of Florida, to offer the t-Branch.

An aortic aneurysm is an abdominal enlargement of a section of the aorta that is at least twice its normal size, or approximately two and a half inches across. Once an aortic aneurysm reaches this size or larger, the wall of the aorta becomes so thin that it can rupture and lead to sudden death.

“This type of TAAA is usually treated by a complicated six-hour surgery that requires an incision that almost splits the body in half, starting from the back of the ribcage to below the belly button,” said W. Anthony Lee, MD, Director of the Endovascular Program at Boca Regional’s Christine E. Lynn Heart & Vascular Institute.

The conventional operation for this condition represents probably the biggest surgical trauma the human body can tolerate, and involves the aneurysm being resected and replaced with a graft that is hand-sewn with sutures. The typical hospital stay involves up to one week in intensive care and a two to three week hospital stay. The risk of death and complications associated with the procedure are significant and post-operative recovery can take months.

“Utilizing the t-Branch reduces procedural time to three to four hours and average hospital stay to approximately three days,” said Dr. Lee. “It also eliminates the need for an incision that involves two body cavities. Using this device, typically, only two needle punctures in the groin and a small incision in the armpit are required.”

The device is a tubular endovascular graft with four branches and a covered stent that is constructed of woven polyester fabric sewn to self-expanding stainless steel stents. The branches allow uninterrupted blood flow to the aorta.

To date, minimally invasive procedures to repair a TAAA utilized “custom manufactured” stent grafts that were only available in a couple of large tertiary care centers in the U.S. These procedures required a six to eight week delay before the aneurysm could be repaired due to the manufacturing process of the stent graft, placing the patient at unnecessary risk of rupture in the interval.

The Zenith t-Branch stent graft, an advanced investigational device currently undergoing an FDA-approved clinical trial, is the first and only medical device that can be used for endovascular repair of a TAAA that is readily available and completely “off-the-shelf,” meaning the surgeon has immediate access and can perform the procedure in a time frame that is most ideal for the patient.

“Clearly, endovascular repair of TAAA using the t-Branch stent graft represents one of the most significant technological advances in the minimally invasive treatment of aortic aneurysms in the last two decades,” concluded Dr. Lee.

About Boca Raton Regional Hospital – Advancing the boundaries of medicine.
Boca Raton Regional Hospital is an advanced, tertiary medical center ( with 400 beds and more than 800 primary and specialty physicians on staff. The Hospital is a recognized leader in oncology, cardiovascular disease and surgery, minimally invasive surgery, orthopedics, women’s health, emergency medicine and the neurosciences, all of which offer state-of-the-art diagnostic and imaging capabilities. The Hospital is a designated Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

Boca Raton Regional Hospital was recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015–2016 Best Hospitals listing as a top-ranked hospital in the South Florida metropolitan area for the fourth time in the last five years. Boca Raton Regional Hospital was also the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ for 10 years running and was named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, both by Healthgrades®.