Junior Fellows

Luka Petravić at Academic Surgical Congress in Washington DC

February 13, 2024

Luka Petravić, ASEF Junior Fellow 2023, attended a congress on academic surgery held in the capital of the United States from February 4th to 10th. The congress, which took place in Washington DC, covered topics related to research in surgery and institutional leadership. Luka had two abstracts accepted for presentation at the congress. One focused on aortic geometry, while the other addressed hemodynamic changes after aortic stenting (EVAR).

Luka completed his research visit during the summer 2023, under the mentorship of Dr. Luka Pocivavsek. There, he focused on the laboratory’s main theme, which aims to improve the prediction of outcomes in aortic aneurysm surgeries and thus enhance patient selection for various interventions. Currently, this selection relies largely on the maximum diameter of the aorta, which does not adequately differentiate between different patient subgroups. The laboratory aims to incorporate aortic geometry into the decision-making process, which is challenging to quantify. With an algorithm developed by the laboratory, it is possible to quantify the geometry. During his research visit, Luka explored how temporal changes in variables could also be used in patient differentiation, in addition to quantifying only the initial or final shape and diameter.

The second project involved investigating how Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) alters the hemodynamics within the aorta post-stenting. During his research visit in Chicago, Luka collaborated with an Australian vascular surgeon who had an interesting clinical case where a Kummerel diverticulum (a pouch on the aorta with poorer tissue quality) began to grow in a patient after EVAR intervention. They hypothesized that due to the stiffness of the stent material, more energy remains in the aortic system, which is released at the weakest part of the aorta – the Kummerel diverticulum. With the aid of advanced computer simulations, they successfully confirmed the increase in forces on the computer model and correlated their model with the actual clinical presentation of the patient.

During his visit, Luka had the opportunity to explore Washington and visit the Slovenian Embassy, where he met with Ingrid Marolt Dimatulac and Marko Rančigaj. Recently, the Slovenian Embassy, together with ASEF, organized a scientific symposium.

For attending the congress and visiting Washington, Luka would like to express his gratitude to Dr. Pocivavsek, who made it all possible, as well as to Dr. Prosenc and Prof. Takač, who facilitated Luka’s coordination of internship duties with his research work and conference attendance.

Štipendisti ASEF