Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Treatment
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the aorta, which spans from the heart, down through the body and into the legs, bulges in the abdominal region. This swelling can cause the aorta to eventually burst or rupture, which in turn can lead to severe internal bleeding.
Some patients do not experience symptoms but symptoms may include the following:
- A heartbeat-like pulse in the abdomen.
- Sudden or severe pain in the abdomen or lower back.
- Pain, discoloration or sores on the toes or feet.
Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include dizziness, pain, acute weakness and even loss of consciousness. Patients experiencing symptoms should seek emergency medical help immediately.
AAA is associated with hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure and smoking. AAA is more common in men than women, and the risk increases with age and hereditary factors.
Most often, an AAA is discovered through imaging tests like an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. If a doctor feels a large, pulsing mass in the abdomen during a routine exam, one of these tests may be recommended.
Treatment for AAA
For small AAAs, your physician may simply monitor the patient, checking for signs of change in size, prescribing blood pressure medication if applicable, and encouraging possible behavior changes such as smoking cessation.
At NYPBMH, we also perform open aneurysm repairs where our surgeons remove the weakened part of the aorta and insert a tube-like replacement or graft. This allows blood to travel freely and prevents the threat of rupture.
Another treatment option is an endovascular stent graft, which is a procedure that takes place inside the artery itself using catheters. This also allows blood to travel freely and strengthens the aorta, but does not remove the weakened portion. A physician can recommend the best treatment option.