The ExoVasc® Personalised External Aortic Root Support was the brainchild of Tal Golesworthy, who has Marfan syndrome.
After 10 years of echocardiograms to monitor his ascending aorta, Tal was advised that he needed surgery to reduce the risk of aortic dissection.
However, the standard options open to him, a Bentall graft or valve sparing surgery, did not appeal. Both were major surgical procedures and the Bentall graft required a lifetime on anticoagulant drugs.
As a chartered engineer with a lifetime in research and development engineering, Tal had the skills and knowledge needed to develop a new approach to stabilising the ascending aorta. So that is exactly what he did.
The development of the ExoVasc®: a timeline
Tal attends a Marfan Association Information day to listen to a presentation by Professor Tom Treasure on aortic surgery. At the end of the presentation, Tal engages Professor Treasure in discussions on alternatives.
Tal produces a costed work proposal for the project and Imperial College is invited to participate in the development by providing assistance with the computer aided design (CAD) work.
Professor John Pepper is invited into the project.
Tal starts to raise finance for the project.
With funding in place, Tal and Imperial College start engineering work.
Permission is granted by the Local Research & Ethics Committee for a clinical trial at the Royal Brompton Hospital.
Professor Pepper implants the first ExoVasc® in Tal, who is 47 years old at the time.
After successful implantation of the ExoVasc® support in 19 patients, the Clinical Practice Committee at the Royal Brompton Hospital approves the device for use in the treatment of suitable patients with a dilated aorta due to Marfan syndrome.
University Z Leuven becomes a surgical centre. The surgical lead is Professor Filip Rega.
Following a consultation process, NICE issues full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on External aortic root support in Marfan syndrome in May 2011. To read the guidance visit http://guidance.nice.org.uk/IPG394.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (formerly Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre) becomes a surgical centre. The surgical lead is Mr Mario Petrou.
St Guy's and St Thomas’s NHS Trust becomes a surgical centre. The surgical lead is Mr Conal Austin.
The ExoVasc® Personalised External Aortic Root Support project celebrates its eighth anniversary with thirty patients having had the implant fitted.