Aortic Aneurysm Repair/Removal
DefinitionThe aorta is the largest artery in the body. It begins at the heart and runs through the chest and abdomen. Sometimes the walls of the aorta weaken and bulge in one area. An aortic repair is a surgery to create a support for the weakened area.
Reasons for ProcedureThis procedure is done to:
- Prevent an aneurysm from rupturing/bursting, which causes severe, life-threatening bleeding
- Remove a ruptured aneurysm and repair the damaged aorta
Possible ComplicationsIf you are planning to have an aortic aneurysm repair, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Problems from general anesthesia, such as lightheadedness, low blood pressure, and wheezing
- Blood clots
- Damage to organs or tissue
- Emergency surgery due to a burst aneurysm
- Heart disease
- Previous episodes of transient ischemic attacks or strokes
- Lung disease
- Debilitation due to cancer
What to Expect
Prior to ProcedureYour doctor will likely do some or all of the following:
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- Your doctor may need detailed pictures of your body. These can be made with:
- Cardiac catheterization
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- You may be given laxatives and/or an enema to empty your intestines.
- You may be asked to shower the morning of your procedure. You may be given special antibacterial soap to use.
- Arrange for help at home after returning from the hospital.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
AnesthesiaGeneral anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep.
Description of ProcedureDepending on the location of the aneurysm, blood flow may need to be passed to a heart-lung machine. The machine will temporarily do the jobs of the heart and lungs.An incision will be made over the area of the aneurysm. This may be in the abdomen or chest. The aorta will be clamped off above and below the aneurysm. The aneurysm will be opened and cleaned of any debris. The graft will be sewn into place to reconnect the 2 ends of the aorta. The tissue of the aneurysm will then be wrapped around the outside of the graft.When the graft is properly in place, the clamps will be released. This will allow blood flow to resume through the aorta. The incision will be closed, using either stitches or staples. The area will be covered with a sterile dressing.Some aneurysms can be repaired without a large abdominal incision. Instead, punctures are made in the arteries in the groin. Not all patients are suited for this procedure. Your doctor will discuss your options with you.
|Repair of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm|
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Immediately After ProcedureYou will be brought to a recovery room after surgery. You will be monitored there for any negative effects from the surgery or anesthesia.
How Long Will It Take?1 hour to a few hours
How Much Will It Hurt?Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. The incision will cause some pain after the surgery. Talk to your doctor about medications to help you manage the pain.
Average Hospital StayThe usual length of stay is 4-7 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications occur.
Postoperative CareAt the Hospital
- You will need to stay in the intensive care unit for the first day or so after surgery. You will then be moved to a regular hospital room.
- For the first day or 2, you will be hooked up to monitors to track your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels. Your doctor may also order blood tests, chest x-rays, EKG, and an ultrasound of the repaired area of the aorta.
- You may have some tubes in place, which may include the following:
- IV—delivers fluids and medication
- Urinary catheter—monitors urine output
- Arterial catheter—monitors blood pressure
- Central venous catheter—monitors pressure in the heart
- Epidural catheter—provides pain medication
- Nasogastric tube—inserted through the nose and into the stomach to remove secretions and provide nutrition until your intestines regain normal function
- You may be asked to use an incentive spirometer, to breathe deeply, and to cough frequently. This will help improve lung function after general anesthesia.
- You may be given special compression stockings to wear after surgery. They may help decrease the possibility of blood clots forming in your legs.
- To help prevent further problems, you and your doctor will need to work to increase your overall health. This can be done with medicines and a healthy lifestyle. If you are a smoker, you should talk to your doctor about quitting.
- Follow your doctor's instructions.