ExoVasc® Personalised External Aortic Root Support (PEARS): a new approach to the surgical management of the dilated aorta

The condition: aortic dilation and dissection

One of the common features of Marfan syndrome and related genetic conditions is enlargement or dilatation of the aorta. People affected by this are at risk of aortic dissection, which can be fatal.

The conventional approach: replacement of the aorta

The current standard surgical means of preventing aortic dissection is to replace the ascending aorta, with or without replacement of the aortic valve. During surgery, the ascending aorta and aortic valve are removed and replaced by an artificial graft. To prevent blood clots forming on the replacement valve, the patient has to take anticoagulant drugs for the rest of his or her life.

Alternatively a valve sparing procedure can be done in which the patient’s aortic valve is retained and fixed within the external mesh of an artificial tubular graft material that replaces the weakened aorta. One advantage of this approach is that anticoagulant therapy is not required; the drawback is that further surgery may be required in the future.
Both approaches are major surgical procedures.

The new approach: the ExoVasc® Personalised External Aortic Root Support – retaining the aorta and valve

The ExoVasc® Personalised External Aortic Root Support aims to provide an alternative to aortic root replacement. A custom-made external support is made to exactly match the patient’s aorta. This is placed around the ascending aorta, which remains intact. Since the vessel and the valve remain intact, the surgery is more straightforward and there is no need for the patient to take anticoagulant drugs.

  • To find out more about the ExoVasc® approach, visit The Benefits.
  • To read about the development of the approach, visit The Background.
  • To get information on how to receive an ExoVasc® support, visit The Procedure.

You can also visit the patient information site at www.marfanaorticrootsupport.org.