Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Conditions and Procedures
What is the condition of

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

The aorta is the largest artery in the body that takes the blood from the heart to the rest of the body. An aortic aneurysm is a dilatation of the aorta that happens because of the weakening of the wall of the aorta. This is mainly due to atherosclerosis which weakens the wall of the artery.

Aneurysms may develop at any site, but the most common sites remain in the abdomen. Most aneurysms slowly increase in size and the problem with aortic aneurysms is that when they get to a certain size, they may burst to result in bleeding and possibly, death. The treatment aims to try to decrease the rate of growth and repair the aneurysm before the risk of bursting becomes high.

What are the symptoms of aortic aneurysms?

An aortic aneurysm may not have symptoms. However, patients may present with back pain, chest pain or abdominal pain. Sometimes, patients may present with discolouration of their feet.

What treatments are available for

Aortic Aneurysms

The treatment options are dependent upon the severity of symptoms, where the disease is and the extent of the disease. Dr Altaf will take a full history and examination to look at all the co-morbidities to decide what treatment he would recommend. The options include:

Medical management

The choice of medical treatment depends on the presentation and the patient co-morbidities.  You are likely to be started on a blood thinner, something to control your cholesterol and blood pressure. Other risk factors that would also be managed include stopping smoking, losing weight and exercising.

Small aneurysms (less than 5 cm) need to be regularly scanned, usually with ultrasound, to ensure that the aneurysms do not get too big.

Surgery

Endovascular Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Endovascular stenting is a minimally invasive operation that allows the placements of stents in the aorta across the aneurysm. The stent allows the blood to travel in the stent rather than the aneurysm, preventing it from bursting. The stents are delivered via small incisions in the groins.

Most patients stay in ICU for 1 day and in hospital between 2 to 3 days. After the operation, patients will need a regular check-up with ultrasound.

Open Aortic Aneurysm Repair

In an open repair, an incision is made in the abdomen to repair the aortic aneurysm. In this procedure, the diseased artery is replaced by an artificial tube. This allows the blood to flow into the rest of the body, thereby preventing the bursting of the artery.

Most patients stay in ICU for 1 -2 and in hospital for about 7 days.

Dr Altaf will discuss which option is best for you as many factors determine which procedure is suitable for the individual patient.