Calgary surgeons successful with less invasive heart surgery

Calgary surgeons have used a less invasive way to repair the weakening of the heart's main artery.

Surgeons use stent graft to reinforce weak artery in the heart rather than open heart surgery

Calgary surgeons have been successful using a less invasive way to repair the weakening of the heart's main artery.

The condition usually requires open heart surgery for aneurysms in the upper aorta, where blood flows to the brain.

For the first time in Alberta, local cardiac specialists are now able to repair bulges in the upper aorta of the heart using a minimally invasive procedure that reduces hospital stays, speeds recovery and improves outcomes for patients. (Screebgrab of AHS video)

A cardiac surgeon at the University of Calgary has instead successfully used a stent graft specially designed for the patient.

"A customized graft was made for [the patient] with specific branches in the top part of the graft in order to allow blood flow to his head," said Dr. Jehangir Appoo, the cardiac surgeon involved.

The stent graft, or tube, is inserted through the neck and groin and up to the heart to reinforce the artery's wall.

So far it's been done on one Calgary patient, although it's been tried about 40 times around the world.

Appoo says the procedure helps patients recover more quickly and cut down on the amount of time patients spend in hospital after the surgery from several weeks to just a few days.