LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has launched a centralized Aortic Center to bring together comprehensive, multi-disciplinary treatment of the full range of aortic diseases and conditions.

Located on the Little Rock campus, the center includes an expanded team of specialists, allowing UAMS Health to continue offering the most advanced vascular surgery practice in the state. The center will allow for early and complete diagnosis, appropriate medical and/or surgical management, and long term follow up. It will be capable of accepting and caring for critical conditions such as aortic dissections and ruptures that require emergent care as well as conditions that can be treated in a more elective fashion.

“When the main artery in your body, the aorta, has a problem, you need to seek out a center with the most expertise, knowledge and experience for treatment,” said Mohammed Moursi, M.D., professor and chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at UAMS.

“The UAMS Aortic Center will provide comprehensive care of all aortic diseases at any age,” Moursi added. “Our team of fellowship-trained, board-certified vascular surgeons will work with the rest of the Aortic Center team to provide the very best of care for the citizens of Arkansas.”

The center’s specialists, in addition to four vascular surgeons, include cardio-thoracic surgeons, medical geneticists, cardiovascular anesthesiologists in the operating room, board-certified critical care surgeons in the ICU as well as multidisciplinary post-surgical care in the ICU and on regular floors.

In addition to providing all forms of routine and advanced open surgery, the UAMS Aortic Center provides state-of-the-art complex endovascular surgery. UAMS is the state leader in endovascular minimally-invasive procedures and is the only institution in the state performing fenestrated endovascular aortic operations used to treat patients with complex aneurysms.

Already on the cutting edge of more advanced treatments for both emergency and elective procedures, UAMS expects more research opportunities and more clinical trials of all types to result from this increased collaboration among specialists.

Accessibility is one of the key components of the Aortic Center. A single call to the Physician’s Call Center (501-686-6080) at any time, day or night, will enable referring doctors to speak to a vascular surgeon and arrange an immediate transfer via an “aortic pathway” designation. The use of this “aortic pathway” mobilizes emergency room staff, ICU nurses, operating room nurses, anesthesiologists and the entire vascular surgery team to be in place upon the patient’s arrival, allowing immediate triage, complete advanced diagnostic work up and a quicker path to definitive treatment and improved outcomes. In addition, the pathway designation allows for overriding any diversion designation, with the end result being that the Aortic Center will always have a bed for any Arkansan with an aortic problem

“Aortic conditions often go unrecognized or untreated until it’s too late,” said Kyla Shelton, M.D., director of the Aortic Center and an assistant professor of Vascular and Endovascular surgery in the UAMS College of Medicine. “Prompt recognition and management are critical to achieving optimal results. For the past 20 years, the vascular specialists at UAMS have focused on providing state-of-the-art care for patients with complex aortic conditions ranging from infections to dissections to ruptures; the enhanced collaboration between specialists that this center provides ensures even better treatments for both emergency and elective procedures moving into the future.”