Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

An Aortic Aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of the aorta, the body's largest arterial trunk, which carries blood from the heart to be distributed by branch arteries through the body. The aneurysm is caused by disease in the aortic wall. The aorta extends from the heart down through the chest and abdominal region, where it divides into blood vessels that supply each leg. Smaller arteries branch off to supply blood to the vital organs. Aneurysms can develop anywhere in the aorta, but most occur in the abdominal area.

In the past 30 years, the occurrence of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) has increased threefold. AAA is caused by a weakened area in the main vessel that supplies blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When blood flows through the aorta, the pressure of the blood beats against the weakened wall, which then bulges like a balloon. If the balloon grows large enough, there is a danger that it will burst. Most commonly, aortic aneurysms occur in the portion of the vessel below the renal artery origins. The aneurysm may extend into the vessels supplying the hips and pelvis.

Treatment Options

Patients who are diagnosed with an AAA are evaluated using test such as Ultrasound and CT scans. Depending on the size and severity of the aneurysm, MIMIT physicians can offer two treatment options, Minimally Invasive Endovascular Stenting or surgical repair. If it is determined that the aneurysm cannot be treated in a minimally invasive approach, the surgeons will treat the aneurysm with an open procedure.

Minimally Invasive Endovascular Stenting

This procedure is done as a collaboration of Interventional Radiologists and surgeons. Making small incisions in the groin, a special graft is inserted into the aneurysm and deployed. This graft acts as a pipe connecting the healthy vessel above and below the aneurysm. This prevents blood from entering the aneurysm sac, which reduces the risk of it rupturing. Unfortunately not every patient is a candidate for this procedure.