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PENN begins clinical trial of newest technology to treat thoracic aortic aneurysms

(Philadelphia, PA) A clinical trial is underway at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) to study the safety and effectiveness of an endovascular medical device to treat life-threatening thoracic aortic aneurysms. Ronald Fairman, MD, Chief of Vascular Surgery at HUP, is leading the study at Penn and is one of 35 principal investigators in North America to participate in this landmark trial.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs) occur when a section of the aorta the body's largest artery that carries blood out of the heart and into the organs of the body weakens and bulges outward like a balloon in the section of the artery that runs down the chest. Each year, more than 20,000 patients in the United States are diagnosed with TAA. Aortic aneurysms including thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms remain the 13th major cause of death in this country, accounting for nearly 15,000 deaths annually.

"The STARZ-TX2 trial is groundbreaking and excellent news for patients diagnosed with descending thoracic aortic aneurysms," says Dr. Fairman. "Surgery can be life-threatening for many of these patients and a 'wait-and-see' approach is often not an option because patients are at an increased risk of an aortic rupture. A non-surgical approach to treating this life-threatening disease could benefit thousands of lives."

The clinical trial, called STARZ-TX2 (Study of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Repair with the Zenith® TX2™ Thoracic TAA Endovascular Graft), is open to patients diagnosed with a descending thoracic aortic aneurysm. STARZ-TX2 will compare the outcomes of patients treated with open surgery to patients treated with the Zenith TX2 Thoracic TAA Endovascular Graft, manufactured by Cook Incorporated.

Specifically, the trial will assess device performance, as well as patient survival and aneurysm rupture rates in the surgical and endovascular treatment groups, over a 12-month period.

The trial will enroll 275 pat
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Contact: Ed Federico
ed.federico@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5659
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
16-Feb-2005


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