The Aortic Institute At Yale-New Haven Milestones Achieved

The table below indicates some of the key aneurysm “firsts” achieved here at Yale Cardiac Surgery regarding aneurysm disease.
  • The center incorporates a database of 3,000 patients, 9,000 patient years of follow-up, and 9,000 imaged studies. We believe this is the largest thoracic aortic database extant
  • Developed massive tissue bank for thoracic aortic specimens
  • Articulated “Complication-Specific Approach” for Type B aortic dissection now generally adopted worldwide
  • Determined size at which thoracic aorta ruptures or dissects, permitting evidence-based criteria for surgical intervention, which are used throughout the world
  • Identified inherited, genetic nature of thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection
  • Identified phenomenon of aortic dissection in young weight lifters
  • Identified inciting events for acute aortic dissection (exertion, emotion)
  • Developed first general screening blood test of thoracic aortic aneurysm (molecular biologic “RNA Signature” test)
  • Identified role of MMPs in pathogenesis of thoracic aortic aneurysm (as well as other molecular pathophysiologic mechanisms)
  • Located the specific mutations (SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms) that underlie thoracic aneurysm disease, via a Yale-driven collaboration with Celera Genomics, including patient recruitment on two continents
  • Described mechanical (engineering) alterations in the aortic wall that underlie aortic dissection and rupture
  • Developed novel spinal “Cooling Catheter” for prevention of paraplegia in aortic surgery (supported by grant from the National Science Foundation)
  • Demonstrated safety of Deep Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest for brain preservation in aortic arch surgery
  • Disseminated information about aortic dissection to the medical community via chapters, monographs, articles, books, and Yale-sponsored symposia
  • Disseminated information about aortic dissection to the lay public through multiple TV commercials and magazine/newspaper articles (and via collaboration with The Wall Street Journal in a Pulitzer Prize winning series by Kevin Helliker)
  • First identified the utility of statin drugs in preventing progression and complications of thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • First identified that bovine aortic arch predisposes to thoracic aortic aneurysm

All of the above milestones are reported in scientific publications in top medical and surgical journals. The recently published book Acute Aortic Disease (John A. Elefteriades, M.D., Informa Healthcare, 2007) chronicles many of the above milestones.

A review specially prepared for a lay audience can be found in Scientific American magazine (Elefteriades JA. Beating a sudden killer. Sci Am. 2005;293:64- 71.)