The physicians and scientists at the University of Chicago Medicine continue to perform groundbreaking research on aortic disease to improve treatments, survival rates and quality of life. Our physicians perform basic science to better understand the role the aortic anatomy plays in discovering and perfecting new therapies that allow us to revolutionize treatment for patients with aortic aneurysms and dissection.
Using Aortic Anatomy to Customize Aortic Dissection Care
Our physician-scientists, lead by Dr. Luka Pocivavsek, are committed to solving challenging questions around how best to treat aortic dissection. Traditionally, patients are treat surgically when then their aortic dissection meets a standardized size. However, with Dr. Pocivavsek’s research, we are discovering that treatment should be looking into more parameters to get a comprehensive picture of the patient’s aortic anatomy in order to decide if and when surgery is the best solution.
Through this research, we are highlighting the importance of examining size and shape – as well as other features – of a dissected aorta before determining the right treatment. By using more modern tools like differential geometry, topology and computer science, we can better define the geometric features that tell us about the stability of the aorta. With this information, we can better assess and determine when the risks of surgery are worth it and when they are not, ultimately improving quality and longevity of our patient lives. Learn more about this research.
3D-Bioprinted Grafts for Long-Term Care for Congenital Aortic Conditions
Patients with congenital heart disease are born with heart defects, including being at risk for aortic disease, and will need cardiac care over their lifetime. Dr. Narutoshi Hibino and his research team is investigating the use of 3D-printed grafts for aortic arch repairs to improve the quality of surgery and the patient’s life. Because the aortic arch is a curved, 3D shape that is unique to each patient, it is incredibly difficult to reconstruct ideal structure using current materials or grafts, resulting in aortic stenosis or dilation and other complications overtime.
With Dr. Hibino’s research, they are exploring the use of 3D-printed grafts with biodegradable materials that can be pre-molded, flexible and grow as the patient’s anatomy grows. By using highly advanced CT or MRI scans, we are able to review the patient’s aortic arch in detail and simulate the surgery before the actual procedure. With these computer-generated simulations, we would be able to design a graft that will fit the patient’s body perfectly and replicate how blood would flow through the aorta post surgery. The goal is to use a material that is safe to apply to the patient’s body so his/her tissues can grow around the graft, absorbing the biodegradable graft and allowing their own tissues to maintain the new shape and stability moving forward. This research can improve the quality of the surgery and patient’s life after surgery. Learn more about this research.
Leading-Edge Clinical Trials
Our physicians and researchers are working closely together to transform research into bedside care for our patients through clinical trials. Currently, our multidisciplinary aortic disease team has clinical trials in progress that allow patients to benefit from novel therapies before they are widely available, putting them at the forefront of aortic disease care.
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