Updated on March 25, 2022
The aorta is the largest artery in the body and transports blood from the heart to the rest of the body. In the thorax, it is called a thoracic aorta and in the abdomen, it is called a abdominal aorta where it finally divides into 2 iliac arteries which then supply the right and left leg respectively.
The aorta has thick muscle walls which can withstand high blood pressure and has a diameter of around 2 cm. However, if the aorta weakens, the wall can bulge outwards like a balloon. This is called an aneurysm and has a risk of rupturing causing sudden death due to catastrophic bleeding.
Risk Factors for Aortic Aneurysm
- High cholesterol
- Injury to the chest or abdomen
- Marfan’s Syndrome
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
Click to view Medical Centric video on Aneurysm
Treatment is advisable if you have symptoms of chest or back pain. Surgery is required to prevent the aneurysm from growing bigger or rupture because of the weakened wall.
1. Open Aneurysm Repair
A large aneurysm or leaking aneurysm will need to be cut open and a synthetic stent graft sutured to replace it. The surgeon will need to make a large incision in your thorax or abdomen to get access to the aorta to perform this surgery.
2. Endo Vascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR)
A stent graft which is made of synthetic fabric is introduced into the aorta via an incision made at the iliac artery. The graft is attached to normal artery walls above and below the aneurysm so the the blood flow through this graft and avoid the aneurysm. This prevents the blood from applying any more pressure to the weakened walls of the aneurysm. EVAR is a less invasive procedure compared to the open method and most patients can resume their normal activities within 2-3 weeks.
Click to view EVAR UHN video on EVAR
Suitability for EVAR Treatment
- Aneurysm which has not ruptured
- Aorta has long enough length of normal artery to secure the stent graft
Post Treatment Care
- Stop smoking if you do smoke
- Change to a more healthy diet with less cholesterol
- Adopt a less stressful life
- Avoid heavy lifting, high-impact exercises or contact sports for the first 3 months
- Consider joining a cardiac rehabilitation program to help you get your strength back
Follow up Recommendation
All patients should see their vascular surgeon for life-long regular follow-up to monitor the integrity and blood flow of the graft. You will also need regular ultrasound or CT scans during your follow-up visits.
See a Vascular Surgeon to discuss your treatment options
Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such.