Health Watch - Heart Disease: Aortic Grafts

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about heart disease and some ways that it can be prevented. One aspect of heart disease is blockages in blood vessels. When these occur in the aorta, the body’s largest artery, surgery may be needed.

Blockages in the aorta can cut off blood supply to the legs, and weaknesses in the aorta wall can be deadly if they rupture. Synthetic grafts are used to repair the aorta, but in a few cases, these grafts become infected. Dr. G. Patrick Clagett, a vascular surgeon at
UT Southwestern Medical Center, has pioneered a way to use grafts from the patient’s own blood vessels to repair grafts damaged by infection. Because the tissue comes from the patient’s body, it’s less likely to develop clots that create new blockages. These grafts are also less likely to develop infections because there’s no foreign material involved.

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March 2010


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