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Evanston Northwestern Healthcare First to Use Aortic Connector

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare became the first center in Illinois to perform open heart surgery using a revolutionary connecting technology that replaces the traditional suture in the procedure. The US Food and Drug Administration approved the new device, the St. Jude Medical’s Symmetry(TM) Bypass System Aortic Connector, on May 24.

Since June 1, surgeons have used the aortic connector in fifteen coronary artery bypass graft procedures. The connector, used in conjunction with other new devices, enables Evanston Northwestern Healthcare heart surgeons to perform a minimally invasive, “no touch” coronary bypass graft surgery on a beating heart.

“With this new device and other advanced technologies, we can offer more patients the option of coronary bypass surgery without subjecting them to the potential risks associated with cardiopulmonary bypass,” says Todd K. Rosengart, MD, Head, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Co-Director, Cardiovascular Care Center. “This makes the procedure safer, faster, and easier on the patient.”

The new aortic connector allows surgeons to attach vein grafts to the aorta with a star-shaped rivet, a mechanical procedure that takes less than 10 seconds versus three to five minutes to sew the connection by hand. Automating the suturing procedure makes beating heart surgery less challenging and helps avoid clamping the aorta, a key cause of stroke and other neurological side effects linked to coronary bypass surgery.

“I believe this is truly a breakthrough in cardiac surgery,” says Dr. Rosengart. “With this technology, I believe that in the near future, we will be performing coronary bypasses with virtually no incisions.”

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare’s Cardiovascular Care Center offers preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic services, as well as cutting-edge therapies and innovative research for treatment of heart disease. The Center offers diagnostic screenings, 24-hour heart catheterization laboratories, open-heart surgery, cardiac rehabilitation, as well as clinical trials of new treatments, such as gene therapy and distal protection devices.

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare is comprised of Evanston Hospital, Glenbrook Hospital, Highland Park Hospital, ENH Medical Group, ENH Home Services and ENH Research Institute. It has been ranked among the TOP 100 Hospitals nationally for seven consecutive years. Through its affiliation with Northwestern University Medical School, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare supports extensive medical education and research programs.

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