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UT Southwestern Medical Center’s interventional radiologists provide expert-level care for patients with endografts, supplying prompt and effective repairs when endoleaks occur.
Specialized Endoleak Repair
Endoleaks occasionally occur in patients who previously had an aneurysm treated with an endograft, a special device that prevents blood from flowing into the aneurysm sac. Occasionally, blood will still flow into the aneurysm sac even after a stent graft is in place; this flow, called an endoleak, can become potentially life threatening.
Our interventional radiologists are specialists in endoleak repairs and treatment of the areas of the body in which the repairs take place. In addition to the training that all radiologists receive, these specialists have advanced fellowship training in interventional radiology, plus extensive real-world experience.
Our team of interventional radiologists and physician assistants coordinates each patient’s complete care – from imaging evaluation to post-procedure follow-up – maintaining a high level of communication throughout the process.
In addition, we coordinate closely with experts from across the UT Southwestern community when necessary.
Types and Treatments
There are several types of endoleaks, and the treatment depends on the type.
A type II endoleak is one of the most common types. This leak occurs when a blood vessel allows blood to flow into the aneurysm sac and another blood vessel allows the flow to escape the aneurysm sac. When this problem happens, the aneurysm remains under pressure and can rupture. Although rupture is rare, the aneurysm sac typically requires treatment if it continues to enlarge.
A type II endoleak is treated with a minimally invasive procedure. One option is to feed a catheter from within the blood vessels up to the area of the endoleak and block the blood vessels that flow into and out of the aneurysm sac. Another approach uses imaging guidance to insert a tiny needle into the aneurysm sac itself and inject special materials called embolic agents into the aneurysm to block the flow.
UT Southwestern’s interventional radiologists are highly skilled in both treatments.
Preparation for Endoleak Procedures
Endoleak repairs are usually performed with general anesthesia. Patients should not eat during the eight hours before the procedure. Most medications can be taken the morning of the procedure, except those that affect blood clotting, such as aspirin, Plavix, Lovenox, or Coumadin.
Patients taking one of these medications might need to stop taking it or be switched to another medicine for a few days before the procedure. Medication management will be coordinated by our team, if necessary.
What to Expect After Endoleak Procedures
After the procedure, patients can expect to be given appropriate pain medications, as needed. Most patients can go home the same day of the procedure. It is rare for any further treatment to be required.