Aortic Aneurysm Repair
An aortic aneurysm is a widening or bulge of the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Aortic aneurysms can present with a variety of symptoms including pain, but, can also have no symptoms at all. Often, aortic aneurysms are detected by ultrasound or CT scan during a test for another medical condition. Aortic aneurysms are most common over the age of 60 and men are five times more likely than women to develop an aortic aneurysm. Aortic aneurysms affect about 15,000 Americans each year.
Aortic aneurysms vary in size and can grow slowly or very rapidly. The decision on how to best treat an aortic aneurysm depends on these factors as well as its location and a patient's overall health. If an aortic aneurysm is small and causes no symptoms, your physician may recommend medications to control high blood pressure and close monitoring of the aneurysm with ultrasound or CT scan every few months.
The decision to treat an aortic aneurysm with surgery is determined by multiple factors that include the age, overall health, size of the patient, size of the aneurysm, its rate of growth and presence of symptoms. An aortic aneurysm greater than 5 cm or one that is growing rapidly is at increased risk of rupture, so surgery is recommended as treatment. Rupture of an aortic aneurysm is a catastrophic event, often resulting in death, so early detection is very important.
Surgery involves replacing the abnormal portion of the aorta with a fabric tube (Dacron graft). The operation is complicated and requires an experienced surgical team. Some aneurysms are treated with a promising, newer procedure—an endovascular stent graft. Endovascular stent grafts enter the body through small incisions in the groin and are guided by catheter through blood vessels to the site of the aneurysm. While endovascular stents are presently only appropriate for use in a limited number of cases, this type of repair is currently being performed in conjunction with vascular surgeons at Beth Israel Medical Center.
The cardiac surgeons at Beth Israel Medical Center have extensive experience repairing aortic aneurysms, with outstanding results. They have had consistently successful outcomes over the past two decades with very low complication rates. With its seasoned team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, and nurses, Beth Israel provides all the crucial elements needed to safely treat and care for patients with aortic aneurysms.