Last year at this time, I wrote about a patient who had been posting in our Patient Forum. He had received a stent graft to treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and wanted to share his story, and also wanted to find other AAA patients. This type of aneurysm was previously only treatable via open surgery. But with advances in device technology, patients were able to receive a AAA stent graft percutaneously, through a catheter in the femoral artery (groin/leg) much like standard angioplasty.
The AAA procedure is definitely more complex than a simple coronary stent procedure, and the catheter incision is larger. But refinements are occurring all the time. For example, today Medtronic received the CE Mark for its newest version of the Endurant II AAA stent graft, reducing the catheter size from 20F to 18F, and introducing other refinements.
But back to the patients. Kevin Morgan (who can be found on Twitter at @FitOldDog) received a stent graft a year-and-a-half-ago. Prior to that, he competed in Ironman triathlons. So, in case you thought that he might be slowed down by this medical condition, check out his blog, athletewithstent.com, where Kevin shares all kinds of thoughts about life after getting an AAA stent graft. And yes he has continued to compete.
Now Kevin has launched a new website, “Old Dogs in Training“, where he hones in on the whole issue of exercise and training for older folk. (By the way, Kevin is 68 and he notes with pride that he is the first AAA stent graft recipient in the world to finish an Ironman race…pride deserved!)
Although Kevin Morgan is a stand-out example, there are many many patients who resume active lives, and become even more active, after a brush with coronary artery disease. Angioplasty.Org’s Patient Forum hosts a Topic on “Exercise, Sport, Physical Activity After Stent” and a separate topic just on “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Stent Grafts“, one we started with Kevin Morgan.
I urge all patients to browse through these stories, and to send in their own, in an effort to spread the word to others that a diagnosis of CAD or AAA does not necessarily signal an ending, but could be a new beginning…so much depends on how you approach it.