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Talking With Your Doctor About Aortic Aneurysm

Doctors often find the problem during an evaluation

What is an aortic aneurysm repair?

Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Aortic aneurysm repair is surgery to fix an aortic aneurysm. An aortic aneurysm is a weakened area in the aorta. Your aorta is the main blood vessel (artery) leaving your heart and passing down through your chest and abdomen (belly). With time, a weakened area can grow, stretch, and balloon outward. Left untreated, an aortic aneurysm can burst and bleed heavily. Aortic aneurysm repair prevents or treats this life-threatening condition.

Aortic aneurysm repair involves removing or reinforcing the diseased part of your aorta with synthetic material, called a graft.

Aortic aneurysm repair is a major surgery with serious risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having an aortic aneurysm repair.

Types of aortic aneurysm repair

The types of aortic aneurysm repair procedures include:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (AAA repair) repairs an aortic aneurysm that occurs in the part of your aorta that is in your abdomen (belly). This is the most common type of aortic aneurysm.
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm repair repairs an aortic aneurysm that occurs in the part of your aorta that is in your chest.

Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may perform other procedures in addition to aortic aneurysm repair. This is most common with thoracic (chest) aortic aneurysm repairs. 

Additional procedures may include:

  • Aortic valve repair or replacement, which you may need if the aneurysm is close to your heart. The aortic valve opens to allow blood to leave your heart and closes to prevent blood from flowing back into your heart.
  • Heart surgery, which you may need if heart disease has contributed to your aortic aneurysm
Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 4, 2013

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Medical References

  1. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. Society for Vascular Surgery. http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm.aspx.
  2. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. Society of Interventional Radiology. http://www.sirweb.org/patients/abdominal-aortic-aneurysms/.
  3. Aortic Aneurysms. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. http://www.sts.org/patient-information/aneurysm-surgery/aortic-aneurysms.
  4. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf.
  5. Surgical Aneurysm Repair. Society for Vascular Surgery. http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/surgical-aneurysm-repair.aspx.
  6. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm. Society for Vascular Surgery. http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/thoracic-aortic-aneurysm.aspx.

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