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Sandy's Story

Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm (TAA)

Sandy was working at his job as a heavy equipment mechanic when a pain in his chest almost knocked him to the floor. At first, his doctor thought it could be pneumonia. To confirm the cause of the pain Sandy's doctor took an x-ray of his chest. When the cause was not apparent, another x-ray was taken from a different direction. And that's when the doctor saw it – a large descending thoracic aneurysm in Sandy's aorta right above his heart.

Sandy's doctor showed him the aneurysm on the x-ray and they discussed how best to treat it. The aneurysm had to be repaired before it ruptured. The options were either open surgery to replace the damaged part of the aorta, or thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR) with a stent graft to reinforce the aorta without surgery.

For Sandy, the choice was clear. He didn't want to have open surgery; he wanted to go with the stent graft.

Sandy's doctor contacted a surgeon, Dr. Michael Tuchek, who specialised in TEVAR. Sandy began his preparations, including a thorough cardiovascular exam. His arteries were clear – there were no signs of atherosclerosis.

About a month after Sandy's thoracic aortic aneurysm was diagnosed, it was repaired with a Medtronic Talent™ Thoracic Stent Graft. Sandy went into surgery early one morning and woke up in the afternoon. The next day, he left the hospital and went home. Three weeks later, he was back on the job, fixing bulldozers, road graders, and heavy-duty trucks.

Does Sandy think about the stent graft in his body? "No, I've been free of chest pain ever since," he says. "In fact, 3 years after the stent graft was put in, I was involved in another car accident. My neck was injured, but the stent graft was fine. I would recommend the stent graft procedure to anyone in my position."

This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.