Aortic Aneurysm Repair Overview

What we mean by aortic aneurysm repair

Aortic aneurysm repair is the removal of a dilated (enlarged) portion of the aorta, replaced by a woven or knitted Dacron graft, to continue uninterrupted blood flow through the aorta and all branch vessels.

When we proceed to Aortic aneurysm repair

Aortic aneurysm repair is performed when a portion of the aorta has become dilated as a result of medionecrosis in the ascending aorta or atherosclerosis in the arch and descending segments. Congenital defects in connective tissue are also a risk factor. A history of blunt trauma may be associated with this disease propagation. Prior to 1950, patients exposed to syphilis were at risk of developing aortic aneurysm.

Risk of clot formation and rupture of the aneurysm, seen in 50% of cases, as well as dilation to a size greater than 4 inches (10 centimeters) promote repair of the aneurysm by surgical techniques.

Who are the patients for aortic aneurysm repair

The patient population for this procedure is typically male with an average age of 65 and a history of medionecrosis or atherosclerosis of the aorta. Patients with a medical history significant for syphilis or blunt trauma are at risk. Congenital defects associated with Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (disorders resulting in abnormal tissue formation) need to be monitored.

All patients will be monitored until the aneurysm demonstrates consistent enlargement over time, or grows to greater than 2.2 in (5.5 cm) in diameter at which time surgery is suggested. At a diameter of 4 in (10 cm) surgery is the best option, as risk of rupture increases. Many patients live without symptoms, having the aneurysm identified during other medical procedures.

Questions that you have to ask your doctor before the aortic aneurysm repair procedure  

How many of these procedures have been performed by the surgeon?

What is the mortality rate for this procedure at the institution?

What side effects are associated with this surgical procedure, and at what rate are they experienced by patients?

What is the expected length of stay in the hospital?

Are there any other suitable procedures, such as endovascular grafting?

How long before normal activities, exercise, work, and driving can be resumed?