Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
Answers

What is Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair?

The aorta is the largest artery in the body. The abdominal portion of the aorta carries blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. Sometimes the walls of the aorta weaken and bulge in one area. This is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). AAA's are most often caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and high blood pressure .

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Surgery to repair an AAA is often done when the aneurysm:

  • Causes physical symptoms (eg, abdominal pain)
  • Reaches a size of five centimeters (about two inches) across or has been growing rapidly—Smaller aneurysms are watched closely. They are rarely repaired with surgery.
  • Has burst—Surgery must be done immediately.

Preventive AAA surgery generally has a good outcome for people who are relatively healthy. Emergency surgery to fix an AAA rupture has a much lower survival rate, due to the rapid loss of blood.

Possible Complications

Your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Problems from general anesthesia (eg, light-headedness, low blood pressure, wheezing)
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to organs
  • Death

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Emergency surgery due to a burst aneurysm
  • Heart disease
  • Previous episodes of transient ischemic attack or stroke
  • Lung disease
  • Debilitation due to cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge at the incision site
  • Signs of infection, including fever and...
 
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