Brazilian Symposium Honors UB Inventor and His Life-Saving Stent

By Lois Baker

Release Date: January 31, 2005

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A device that saves lives of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms and its University at Buffalo inventor will be the stars of The International Symposium of Endovascular Treatment of Aortic Diseases being held in Brazil Feb. 1-2.

The device in the spotlight is the TALENT Thoracic Stent Graft, a synthetic graft supported by a metal stent that is used to stabilize or bypass a ballooning site in the aorta, the major blood vessel leading away from the heart.

The symposium celebrates the stent's 10th anniversary: It first was used on a human patient in Australia in 1995.

Syde A. Taheri, M.D., UB assistant professor of surgery, invented the device as a way to treat this life-threatening condition without performing major surgery, which was the only way to treat aortic aneurysms before the stent became available.

Since its introduction the device has been implanted in 60,000 patients outside of the U.S. Clinical trials currently are underway at 35 sites in the U.S. in preparation for FDA approval.

Taheri will be honored for his invention at the meeting by the Society of Vascular Surgeons of South America.

A thoracic aortic aneurysm that bursts is often fatal. Approximately 15,000 Americans die suddenly each year from such a rupture, making it the ninth leading cause of death in men over age 55. Five-to-seven percent of people over age 60 in the U.S. have abdominal aortic aneurysms, with men at significantly higher risk than women.

Using the stent allows physicians to avoid subjecting patients to major abdominal surgery, which often results in severe complications, including paralysis and death. The device, encased in a catheter, is threaded through a small opening in the major artery in the leg. The catheter is advanced through the artery under X-ray guidance to the aneurysm site, where the stent is released, unfolds to fit the diameter of the blood vessel, blocks the aneurysm and restores a stable path for blood flow.