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In 1992, Tal entered a genetic study and found out that, as many other Marfan Syndrome patients, his aortic root was very enlarged. In 2000, during a regular check-up, he was told to consider pre-emptive surgery. However, traditional surgery is lengthy and complex as it replaces the ascending aorta by an artificial graft. Also, to prevent blood clots forming on the replaced vessel, the patient has to take anticoagulant drugs for the rest of his/her life. Tal did not like the scenario for his future, so he started to think of alternatives. Being a process engineer, he compared his enlarged aorta to a plumbing problem, so he thought that he had to create something that would act like an insulation tape, that could be wrapped around the outside of the a aorta. The same thing that everyone does when a hosepipe is bulging. After a lot of CAD models, together with his doctor, they developed the final prototype, the ExoVasc®. The device was placed on Tal during a two-hour surgery, in 2004. “To build technical and commercial teams, raise the finance, run the project AND volunteer to be the first patient was not so easy, particularly as I was trying to operate as a rational project manager when I knew the outcome of the project could have such a profound impact on my future health”, he explained. The ExoVasc®, Personalised External Aortic Root Support, is a custom-made external support made to exactly match the patient’s aorta. This is placed around the ascending aorta, which remains intact. Since the vessel and the valve remain intact, the surgery is more straightforward and there is no need for the patient to take anticoagulant drugs. Tal was awarded with the Patient Innovation award in 2015. Learn more