July 26, 2005
By: Julia Schulhof
Undated--When Yale surgeon John Elefteriades first met Carmela Kolman, she was near death. An enlargement, or aneurysm, in Kolman's aorta the heart's main artery, had suddenly burst.
Just before operating, Elefteriades had to tell Kolman's husband John Rizzo she might not make it.
So once his wife was out of danger, Rizzo, a health statistician, suggested a collaboration with the surgeon, building a database of aneurysm patients.
As Elefteriades wrote in "Scientific American," analyzing that database has shown that when an aneurysm grows to over two inches across, it's time to operate.
But they note, first these silent killers need to be detected. Their further research has shown that all aneurysms are likely genetic.
And they say, with her aorta replaced, Kolman has every reason to expect to live out a normal life.
The report appears in the August issue of Scientific American.
Click here for more information on detecting aneurysms.