New procedure helps those with Aortic Aneurysm


An aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso. If left untreated it can be deadly. 

In HealthWatch Chelly Boutott has more on a procedure that is saving lives. 

Anyone at risk for heart disease or cardiovascular disease is at risk for aneurysm. But it can also happen to those with no heart disease in their family.

Tom Wonderling needs to stay in shape to keep up with his hunting dogs, “Basically i’ve been working with training of bird dogs,” explained Tom Wonderling, patient. 

For the past three years Tom noticed that he would get flu like symptoms during the fall, “i had coughing and was tired and lethargic,” said Tom. 

A little over a year ago he finally went to the doctor- who took tests “They took a chest x-ray and found out I had an aneurysm of my aorta,” said Tom. 

So Tom was sent to Dr. Matthew Schmidt an interventional cardiologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, “An aneurysm can happen to any blood vessel, it means just enlarged from normal,” explained Dr. Matthew Schmidt, interventional cardiologist, Aurora BayCare Medical Center. 

Tom’s was on the heart’s aorta, the large blood vessel coming out of the heart, “When the blood vessel gets big enough there is a risk for rupture. It’s typically a life threatening thing,” said Dr. Schmidt. 

Spending his career as either a coach, teacher or administrator, Tom was surprised, “I thought I was as healthy as one could be,” said Tom. 

The aneurysm was in a spot where Dr. Schmidt could stent it using the Thoracic endovascular aortic repair  or TEVAR approach, “We put a stent throughout the aneurysm through a small incision in the groin and the stent is crimped down on a plastic tube and we put it over a wire and we create a new path for the blood flow,” explained Dr. Schmidt. 

Opening up the aorta, “His aneurysm is essentially cured at this point. The stent doesn’t take the aneurysm out of the body it just makes a new place for the blood to go,” said Dr. Schmidt. 

Patients spend a day or two in the hospital with minimal rehab, “I felt afterwards I felt very good,” said Tom. 

Tom is back to living life without worry- ready for more training with his dogs, “We compete all through the midwest in AKC horseback field trials,” Tom said happily. 

The risk factors for aortic aneurysm  includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hardened arteries and smoking.  

To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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