Procedure Description

aortic-aneurysmAn aortic aneurysm is a weak area in the aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. As blood flows through the aorta, the weak area bulges like a balloon and can burst if the balloon gets too big.

Once an aneurysm reaches 5 centimeters in diameter, it is usually considered necessary to treat to prevent rupture.  Once an abdominal aortic aneurysm has ruptured, the chances of survival are low, with 80 to 90 percent of all ruptured aneurysms resulting in death. These deaths can be avoided if an aneurysm is detected and treated before it ruptures.

Endovascular repair of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, performed by an interventional radiologist in conjunction with a vascular surgeon, is a minimally invasive technique using imaging guidance to place a graft inside the patient’s aorta, effectively sealing off the aneurysm. Placing the graft within the aneurysm redirects blood flow and stops direct pressure from being exerted on the weak aortic wall.

Conditions Treated

Aneurysms of the thoracic and abdominal aorta.

Am I a good candidate?

Patients with diagnosis of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm may be candidates for endovascular repair based on surgical risk and aneurysm anatomy demonstrated on medical imaging.

What should I Expect?

This procedure is done in the operating room in conjunction with a vascular surgeon.  The procedure may require surgical closure of the groin incisions.  Imaging follow-up is required at regular intervals once the graft is placed, to ensure the graft continues to function properly.

Recovery Time

Patients will be required to stay in the hospital for an average of 2-3 days following the procedure.  Normal activity typically resumes within 1 week.

First Steps

Consult with your primary care physician on the benefits of Endovascular repair of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.  Diagnosis is often made with clinical history and through the use of a screening Ultrasound.

Benefits Comparison

Endovascular repair results in a faster recovery versus open repair.  This procedure creates a much smaller incision versus open repair. 

Resources

sirweb.org

Other Information

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a one-time abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound as part of the “Welcome to Medicare” program.  This AAA screening requires a referral from your primary care physicians and must be completed within the first year of joining Medicare.  You’re considered at risk if you meet one of these criteria:

  • You have a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
  • You’re a man age 65 to 75 and have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime.