News & Stories

Aortic Clinical Trial Saves Young Pilot’s Life

When Jason Flood flew a plane at 300 ft. that crashed suddenly to the ground, he was not expected to live.

Found at the crash site near the Jersey Shore – the plane was demolished – dozens of Jason’s bones were shattered as he was crumpled in the cockpit, and he was bleeding extensively. Rushed to a local hospital in critical condition, Jason was eventually air-lifted to Cooper University Hospital.

Physicians first focused on the injury to his aorta, the largest artery in the body, which delivers blood from the heart to the rest of his body. If the aorta was not repaired immediately, Jason would die. Jason’s injury, known as “aortic transection,” resulted from traumatic force to his chest at the time of impact, resulting in ripping the aorta in half.

Complications from Jason’s other injuries made conventional invasive surgery to repair his aorta through the ribs and chest too risky.

His physician, Joseph V. Lombardi, MD, Director Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery and Director of the Cooper Aortic Center at Cooper University Healthcare, recommended Jason enroll in a clinical trial, named RESCUE, that involved a minimally-invasive procedure in which a stent graft was inserted into the aorta. The procedure would repair Jason’s aorta through a small groin incision, thereby allowing the other teams of physicians to address his other injuries quickly and effectively.

It has been a year later since Jason underwent his procedure. He is fully recovered following a successful repair of his aorta, as well as other surgeries involving his lower spine, legs and feet. Many of his physicians believed that Jason would never walk again. But not only is Jason walking, he is flying again in aerobatic competitions where he recently placed 2nd in a regional air show.