Estrera & Milewicz Team Up to Help Teen with Thoracic Aortic Disease Genetic Mutation

Sixteen-year-old Zowie Claudio and her mother Angela are all smiles after the teen underwent a preventive procedure to fortify her weakened aorta. (Photo provided by the Claudio family, via UTHealth News)

Due to a genetic mutation, Zowie Claudio, 16, was at high risk of Thoracic Aortic Dissection, the same disease that killed her father at 35, and both of her brothers at the ages of 23 and 18.  Through the collaborative efforts between pioneering researcher, geneticist, and the President George Bush Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine at UTHealth, Dianna M. Milewicz, MD, PhD, and the surgical expertise of professor and ad interim chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, Anthony Estrera, MD, Zowie has a new chance at life.

Dr. Estrera performed a valve-sparing aortic root replacement at the Aortic Center of Excellence at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center.  Milewicz and her team of researchers have discovered nine of the genes that are now known to cause a predisposition for thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections, and are using their expertise to inform gene-based clinical management and treatment of aortic diseases.

Read Zowie’s full story by Rob Cahill, featured on UTHealth News.