The Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute has opened an aortic surveillance clinic for the assessment and long-term monitoring of patients with enlarged aortas or aortic aneurysms who may not require surgical intervention.
The clinic is the latest offering from the Heart Institute’s specialized aortic program, an interdisciplinary team of highly specialized cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, radiologists, genetic counselors, and nurses who treat the full spectrum of aortic diseases.
„When patients hear they have an aortic aneurysm, they often think they are ticking time bombs, but that’s not always the case,“ said Robbin Cohen, MD, professor of cardiac surgery and director of the Heart Surgery Program at Huntington Health, a subsidiary of Cedars-Sinai. „Most of the patients we see – many of them with genetic heart conditions – have aortas that are not large or severe enough to warrant surgery, but they require continuous monitoring.“
„With the Aortic Surveillance Clinic, we provide the reassurance that they will be carefully and closely monitored and that appropriate therapy, including surgery, will be offered if needed.“
Patients of the Smidt Heart Institute benefit from access to a multidisciplinary team including experienced cardiac and vascular surgeons treating a range of aortic diseases.
We are proud of our collaborative approach that benefits patients with various complex aortic diseases. Our team is familiar with innovative, minimally invasive procedures, with cardiac and vascular surgeons carefully considering how to best address the needs of each individual patient.“
Ali Azizzadeh, MD, Vascular Surgeon, Professor, and Director of Vascular Surgery, Deputy Director of the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, and expert in aortic aneurysms
Cohen has more than 25 years of experience in monitoring and treating patients with aortic aneurysms.
Aortic surgeons know that over time they accumulate hundreds of patients with aneurysms they are monitoring and not operating on,“ said Cohen. „This requires expertise in aortic imaging, the natural history of aortic diseases, as well as the guidelines and criteria for surgical interventions – areas in which the Smidt Heart Institute team has outstanding expertise.“
The aorta is the largest and most important artery, transporting blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Careful monitoring of a significantly enlarged aorta or aortic aneurysm can help prevent the possibility of a life-threatening condition such as aortic dissection – a tear that develops along the inner layer of the aorta.
The Aortic Surveillance Clinic also provides expert care for patients with certain genetic syndromes, such as connective tissue diseases like Marfan syndrome and Loeys-Dietz syndrome, as well as other genetic diseases of the aorta and aortic valve, such as Turner syndrome. These patients have a high risk of developing an enlarged aorta and subsequently a tear or dissection in the aorta due to anomalies in the heart and blood vessels. Since these disorders can also affect other areas of the body, the Aortic Surveillance Clinic goes a step further and addresses these issues by bringing together patients with genetic counselors, ophthalmologists, orthopedists, psychologists, reproductive endocrinologists, and other specialists, if needed.
„We are pleased to be able to focus on a subgroup of patients who do not require surgical intervention – and to educate them on how to prevent acute aortic events that can be fatal,“ said Dr. Joanna Chikwe, chair of the Institute’s Department of Cardiac Surgery and Irina and George Schaeffer distinguished chair in Cardiac Surgery at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai. „And if these patients do need to be operated on – which can be complex and challenging – the Smidt Heart Institute has the expertise of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team to care for them and achieve excellent results.“
The Aortic Surveillance Clinic is located at 127 San Vicente Blvd. in Los Angeles and is open for patient evaluations every second Friday of the month. For more information, patients can call 310-423-3851.
Cedars-Sinai has once again been recognized by US News and World Report, this year as the second-largest cardiology, heart, and vascular surgery program nationwide. The Smidt Heart Institute is also the number one for cardiology, heart, and vascular surgery in California and Los Angeles (highest ranking in the region). US News Ranking).