New treatment at HonorHealth Research Institute aims to prevent potential growth of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Dr. Venkatesh Ramaiah leads clinical trial of drug that prevents abdominal aortic aneurysms from expanding

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — July 11, 2024 — More than 1 million Americans are at risk of dying from the rupture of the main artery carrying oxygenated blood from the heart to the legs, but a new clinical study at HonorHealth Research Institute could help prevent such catastrophic failures.

As people get older, the wall of the abdominal aorta tends to weaken, thin and stretch, allowing this crucial artery to expand causing aneurysms.

Through the Research Institute’s clinical trial called “stAAAble” (AAA stands for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms), patients with an AAA diameter of 3.5 to 5 cm are treated with a single dose of PGG (1,2,3,4,6-pentagalloyl glucose). The drug is applied to the inner walls of the aneurysm using the Nectero Endovascular Aneurysm Stabilization Treatment (Nectero EAST®) System, which uses a catheter to move the drug through a large blood vessel in the leg up into the abdominal aorta.

The procedure takes less than an hour to complete and leaves no implant behind. Doctors then use scans to monitor the treated aorta, taking images at least every 6 months.

“The hope for this treatment is basically to prevent, or stabilize, the growth of abdominal aneurysms so that they do not grow and eventually rupture,” said Venkatesh Ramaiah, M.D., a vascular surgeon at the Institute and the first to perform this in Arizona and the Southwest. Dr. Ramaiah is the Chief of Vascular Services at HonorHealth’s Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center. He is also the Director of Research and Innovation at The HonorHealth Network.

“We are already treating larger aneurysms with less invasive technology, but this research aims to stabilize the growth of these aneurysms and is more preventive. Right now, aneurysms that are 3.5 to 5 cm are followed with serial ultrasounds and CT scans,” said Dr. Ramaiah. “There has been no treatment available, and most of the older treatments, based on medications or drugs, didn’t work very well.”

Ruptured aneurysms carry high mortality

A burst aorta is a violent and often deadly event that causes massive internal bleeding. According to one study in The British Journal of Surgery, death occurs in 81% of people having a rupture of an AAA, with 32% dying before reaching a hospital.

Worldwide, an estimated 8% of men older than 65 have AAA, and the incidence is four times higher in men than in women. In the U.S., about 1.1 million patients are estimated to have AAAs sized 3.5 to 5 cm in diameter. Besides age, risk factors include cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and dyslipidemia, a metabolic disorder characterized by abnormally high or low amounts of blood lipids.

HonorHealth Research Institute is the only site in Arizona offering this clinical trial, part of an international study of nearly 400 patients sponsored by the manufacturer, Tempe, Ariz.-based Nectero Medical.

For more information about HonorHealth Research Institute cardiovascular clinical trials, contact: or 480-323-1046.