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Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Surgery Saves Life of Forest Hills Man

David Levine, 212-772-9447
Cynthia Bacon, 718-670-2515
Flushing, N.Y., February 3, 2010– A 83 -year-old Forest Hills man whose life was in imminent jeopardy due to a ruptured thoracic (chest) aortic aneurysm (TAA) had his life saved at New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ) using minimally invasive endoscopic surgery. The operation was performed by Gregg Landis, M.D., the hospital's director of vascular & endovascular surgery. It was the first time this procedure was performed at the hospital.

“The patient came to the emergency room with a ruptured aortic aneurysm, basically a hole in the artery. A ruptured aneurysm causes severe internal bleeding, which leads to shock and death. Patients with this condition usually die within 30 minutes,” according to Dr. Landis. 

The aorta is the largest artery in the body running from the heart through the center of the chest and abdomen. If the aorta wall weakens, it can expand or bulge as blood is pumped through it, causing an aortic aneurysm.  If the aneurysm occurs in the chest it is referred to as a thoracic aneurysm or TAA. If it occurs in the stomach it is called an abdominal aneurysm or AAA.

According to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, approximately 47,000 Americans die each year from aortic disease with ruptured aortic aneurysms accounting for 15,000 of those deaths.

Physicians decided that traditional “open” surgery was not an option for this patient. Dr. Landis felt that the patient’s best chance was to use a newer minimally invasive vascular surgery technique called an endovascular stent graft. The treatment is performed inside the artery using long, thin tubes called catheters that are threaded through the blood vessels.  The endovascular stent graft both repairs and strengthens the aorta.

“It was very exciting to be able to use this procedure for the first time at our hospital and I believe the first time in Queens. Not only did the patient survive, but he was able to benefit from minimally invasive surgery which allows for faster healing, less complications and faster discharge from the hospital,” Dr. Landis said. “It was a great team effort.”
Although the immediate problem that brought the patient to the emergency room was a TAA, the patient also had a non-life-threatening AAA. Dr. Landis repaired it a week later also with an endovascular stent graft to avoid having the patient come back for another surgery at a later date.

Several days later, Dr. Landis performed a second TAA surgery on a patient whose condition was caused by a car accident.

Being able to offer innovative surgical techniques as an alternative to traditional approaches is part of the NYHQ commitment to providing advanced treatment modalities for patients. The Division of Vascular Surgery at NYHQ treats large numbers of patients with atherosclerotic occlusive disease, aneurysmal disease, and vascular trauma. The specialists are particularly known for their experience with complex lower extremity revascularization procedures, carotid artery surgery, abdominal aortic surgery, and dialysis access surgery. Non-surgical as well as surgical treatment of venous and lymphatic conditions is also available. 

New York Hospital Queens is a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.


Note to Editors: Dr. Landis and this patient are available for interviews.

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