Beaumont Opens Aneurysm and Dissection Clinic in Ernst Cardiovascular Center
Clinic offers minimally invasive surgery, coordinated care and genetic testing and counseling for high-risk aortic disease
Beaumont Hospital’s Ernst Cardiovascular Center has expanded its services with a new multidisciplinary clinic offering comprehensive services for patients with aortic aneurysms or dissections, including minimally invasive surgery and lifelong follow-up.
The clinic, which opened Jan. 24 at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, also offers genetic testing and counseling for family members of patients with inherited diseases, such as Marfan syndrome, that place them at high risk for aortic aneurysm or dissection.
|(left ) Drs. J. Altshuler, E. Hanson and O.W. Brown confer.|
“We specialize in helping patients with high-risk aortic diseases due to its location, size or the patient’s medical condition,” says Jeffrey Altshuler M.D., Beaumont cardiovascular surgeon. “In one visit, they receive a complete, expedited evaluation by cardiac and vascular surgeons, including imaging and laboratory testing, and they leave with a recommended treatment plan.”
The clinic’s staff includes six heart surgeons, seven vascular surgeons, anesthesiologists, a medical geneticist and counselor, and a nurse navigator who assists patients with scheduling testing and follow-up care.
“Although we offer all of the latest and most advanced surgical treatments, not all patients require surgery,” explains Graham Long, M.D., Beaumont vascular surgeon. “Patients with small, slow-growing aneurysms require close monitoring with annual CT scans. For these patients, Beaumont offers low-dose radiation CT scanning that significantly reduces their risk of radiation exposure from repeat CT scans.”
Beaumont is the only health system in Michigan offering low-dose radiation scanning with the latest Flash CT technology at all of its hospitals.
An aortic aneurysm is a bulge in a major blood vessel called the aorta, the body’s main artery leading away from the heart. Aneurysms may occur in the abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA) or in the chest cavity (thoracic aneurysm) when the wall of the aorta becomes weakened and is at risk of rupture, a life-threatening occurrence.
An aortic dissection is a tear inside the lining of the aorta. A dissection causes severe pain, may result in stroke or heart attack and blood flow problems to the legs, intestines and kidneys.
In addition to traditional open surgeries, Beaumont surgeons were among the first in the area to treat thoracic aortic aneurysms with a minimally invasive procedure called an endovascular stent graft. In this procedure, thin tubes called catheters are inserted inside the aorta through small incisions in the groin. The catheters are used to guide a device called a stent graft to the aneurysm to reinforce the weakness in the aorta wall and seal off the aneurysm. This allows blood to pass through the aorta without pushing on the aneurysm, protecting it from rupture.
Beaumont’s new aneurysm and dissection clinic is one of six specialty clinics in the Ernst Center, that opened Oct. 18. It was established through a $3 million donation from Max and Debra Ernst of Orchard Lake and their family in memory of Ellen Ernst, Max Ernst’s late, first wife.
The 4,537 square-foot Ernst center also offers multidisciplinary clinics for heart valve disease, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure and preventive heart screening, including Beaumont’s “7 tests for $70” heart and vascular screening for adults and “Healthy Heart Check” student heart screening.
Conveniently located on the first floor of Beaumont, Royal Oak with free valet parking, the center includes six examination rooms, three consultation rooms with videoconferencing capabilities for long-distance consultations, and two ultrasound rooms. The center features the latest in cardiovascular imaging options, including 3-D cardiovascular ultrasound equipment.
Appointments at the center can be scheduled by calling 248-898-3839, or toll-free at 888-683-7678.
Beaumont is Michigan’s, and one of the nation’s, most experienced providers of heart care, ranking 28th on the 2010 U.S. News & World Report list of “America’s Best Hospitals” for heart and heart surgery. In addition to the Ernst Cardiovascular Center, Beaumont offers Michigan’s first center devoted exclusively to the prevention, diagnosis, and research of heart disease in women called the Ministrelli Women’s Heart Center.