Screening crucial for Triple A and more awareness needed

On Feb. 22, the day after America watched some of its strongest hearts compete in Vancouver on the 30th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” hockey game, a lucky patient at El Camino Hospital was recuperating from his own miracle.

“I was watching the Olympics and a segment came on about the ‘Miracle on Ice,’ featuring Jim Craig, goalie for the ‘Miracle’ team and now national spokesperson for triple A awareness and screening”

The problem for 68-year-old Bob Maricle (pronounced “miracle”) was a life-threatening abdominal aortic aneurysm (commonly referred to as triple A). This condition, if not treated, can result in the rupture of the aorta and sudden death. Ruptured aneurysms are frequently fatal and are the third leading cause of death in men over 60.

Scheduled to do the procedure that day was interventional cardiologist Dr. Jim Joye, a leader in the field of minimally invasive surgery. Typically, such a procedure would entail surgically opening up the patient's chest and possibly the abdomen, with all the attendant risks of a complicated, four- to eight-hour major operation, requiring weeks of recovery time before going home. Instead Dr. Joye, who is also director of research and education at El Camino Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute, performed a one-hour minimally invasive triple A repair on Maricle, which involved placing a tiny incision on each leg, at groin level. A stent was then threaded up into the aorta, reinforcing the weakened arterial wall and keeping it from rupturing.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (triple A) is the swelling or ballooning of the abdominal aorta – which carries oxygen-filled blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Vigilance about screening for triple A through physician exams, CT scanning or ultrasound can help catch triple A before the condition becomes extreme.

It turns out, however, that being able to give Bob Maricle a second chance wasn’t the only satisfying part of the story for Dr. Joye, one of the country’s foremost interventional cardiologists.

“I was watching the Olympics and a segment came on about the ‘Miracle on Ice,’ featuring Jim Craig, goalie for the ‘Miracle’ team and now national spokesperson for triple A awareness and screening,” said Dr. Joye. “Jim Craig has become a colleague of mine over the years especially since he has been so passionate about raising awareness of triple A after a member of his family had died as a result. As I was watching Jim talk about the importance of screenings for this condition, I realized that Maricle’s procedure on February 22 was on the same day as the 30th anniversary of the ‘Miracle on Ice,’ a day with much significance for Jim. It was a coincidence but an exciting one. I immediately texted him at the Olympic Games, and he was thrilled to receive the message.”

Source:

El Camino Hospital

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