Aortic Aneurysm Repair Surgery

Aortic Aneurysm Repair Surgery

Who performs the aortic aneurysm repair surgery and where is it performed?

Cardiothoracic or cardiovascular surgeons or vascular surgeons can perform these procedures. Abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysm repairs require less sophisticated equipment during the surgical procedure, but do need extensive intensive care postoperatively.

Anesthetic management plays a crucial role in the decrease in complications associated with these procedures. Facilities that can also provide cardiovascular surgery are best equipped to manage these patients, but this is not a limitation for all procedures.

Aortic Aneurysm Repair Surgery step by step 

Aortic aneurysm repair surgery is a sophisticated on, after general anesthesia is administered, the surgeon will make an incision through the length of the sternum to repair an ascending, arch, or thoracic aortic aneurysm. Abdominal aneurysms are approached through a vertical incision in the abdominal wall.

Depending on the location of the aneurysm, cardiopulmonary bypass with deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (arch), cardiopulmonary bypass (ascending), or left heart bypass (thoracic) may be required. All  procedures require some amount of anticoagulation, usually heparin, to be administered to prevent blood clot formation. Clamps will be applied across the aorta to prevent blood flow into the aneurysm.

Suturing of the aortic aneurysm area 

The aneurysm will be opened to an area where the tissue is healthy. The healthy tissue will be sutured to a synthetic fiber fabric graft. The fabric is knit or woven Dacron fibers and may be impregnated with collagen,  gelatin, or other substances. Blood flow is reinstituted to check for a secure seal. Additional sutures will be added to prevent leaking. The incision is then closed at the completion of the procedure with blood drains penetrating the incision during healing.

Special steps during the surgery  

Ascending aortic aneurysms may involve the aortic valve or coronary arteries. If the aortic valve is damaged, a graft with an integral aortic valve is used. The coronary arteries are reconnected to the graft.

Aortic arch aneurysms require the reattachment of the arch vessels, the innominate artery, the left common carotid artery, and the left subclavian artery. To decrease surgery time, these three vessels can be treated as a single vessel by using part of the patient’s native aorta to create an island. This island is then connected to the graft.