This is part of a clinical trial for Aortic damage in the heart. As the article states, if someone has been in an auto accident their aorta may be torn and damaged and now along with many other procedures for the heart, this has become an alternative to cutting open the chest.
If a patient is injured badly and too weak to undergo major heart surgery where the heart needs to be temporarily stopped, this could be a life saver. A stent is used for placement and the Gore Tag remains permanently and it reinforces the aortic wall.
Memorial Hospital vascular surgeons Clifford Buckley, M.D., and Ruth Bush, M.D., performed one of the nation's first implants of a Next Generation Conformable GORE TAG Thoracic Endoprosthesis device for the treatment of a traumatic aortic transection as part of a national clinical trial. The goal of the trial is to gain insight into using thoracic endografts for patients with traumatic aortic transection (tear) as a less invasive alternative to major surgery.
Traumatic thoracic aortic transections often result in death and injury to the thoracic aorta from motor vehicle accidents which account for up to 15 percent of all deaths. Patients who survive usually have small tears or partial thickness tears of the aortic wall and the aorta is at greatest risk in front or side impacts. Most blunt aortic injuries occur in the proximal thoracic aorta, although any portion of the aorta is at risk. The proximal descending aorta is at greatest risk from the shearing forces of sudden deceleration.
Endovascular procedures are less invasive than major "open" surgery and involve sealing off an aneurysm by placing the endovascular graft inside the aorta, re-lining and making a new path for blood flow. The GORE TAG thoracic endograft remains inside the aorta permanently through the use of a metal stent creating a tight fit and seal against the wall of the aorta. Endovascular repair may be performed under general, regional or local anesthesia and the procedure typically takes one to three hours. Patients commonly return to normal activity within two to six weeks after the procedure.