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Rushing is out of the rough thanks to new procedure at Rush

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Sept. 30, 2001
Bobby Rushing considers himself a lucky man.
The 70-year-old Meridian resident is also a healthy man after having an abdominal aortic aneurysm repaired Sept. 19 by way of a new technique known as the "Ancure Endograft System." The procedure was the first performed at Rush Foundation Hospital.
An avid golfer, Rushing played the day before his operation and expects to be back on the fairway in about a week.
While being checked for back pain in February, pain that Rushing attributes to "old age," an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) revealed he had an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlargement of the abdominal portion of the aorta, the main artery from the heart, that results from weakening of the vessel wall. It is often fatal if it ruptures.
Rushing's surgery
Rushing's problem was corrected by Dr. Brooks Gray, a general and vascular surgeon, and Dr. Ed Williams, a radiologist, with the Rush Medical Group.
The surgery involves two incisions in the groin, about four inches in length. The blood vessel is entered through the incisions with an X-ray device called a fluoroscope, which guides a graft made of Dacron into place. It is inserted in the vessel, where it acts as a protective sheath against the inside of the vessel wall.
Gray calls the new technique a "vast improvement over the old procedure," which Rushing had a chance to experience, but declined.
Rushing's surgery was originally planned for the spring. But in March, the Guidant Corp., makers of the endovascular graft used in the procedure, stopped production and sales of its product because of regulatory concerns with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Given the choice to have the problem corrected with traditional surgery, or wait for the implants to resume, Rushing chose to wait. Gray said the traditional procedure usually requires three to four hours and a long abdominal incision.
The old way
In the traditional procedure, surgeons make an incision from the patient's chest to his abdomen. The patient often faces a hospital stay of about a week, followed by several months of convalescence before full recovery.
CT scans were done on Rushing periodically to make sure the aneurysm wasn't getting any larger.
In July, the Guidant Corp. announced it had received an "investigational device exemption" from the FDA, which allowed its Ancure Endograft implants to resume.
Rushing was in the hospital for four days. Staples used to heal his incisions were removed Wednesday. He said he hasn't had any pain, except for one area in his lower right side, where he was told the doctors had to do a lot of probing.
Gray said the technique is a good option for patients.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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