Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Most people with an abdominal aortic aneurysm do not have any symptoms. Often, the aneurysms grow slowly and go unnoticed. Many never reach the point of bursting; others enlarge quickly. In general these are the following symptoms:
- Persistent and intense backpain
- Shortness of breath
- Hoarseness, cough,
It is not known what exactly causes an abdominal aneurysm in some people. Factors that are known to contribute to an aneurysm’s developments are the following:
- Atherosclerosis - hardening of the arteries.
- Inherited - Genetic conditions like congenital conditions - born with bicuspid aortic valve.
- Untreated infections such as Syphilis or Salmonella
- Due to traumatic conditions like accidents
More about Treatment
While the exact causes of abdominal aortic aneurysm are not clear, there are some risk factors associated with abdominal aortic aneurysm:
- Age - Individuals over 65
- Smoking or a history of smoking and use of Tobacco.
- Clogged arteries (atherosclerosis)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Family history (genetic factors)
- High cholesterol (hypercholesteremia)
The best option is to consult a specialist in this field - Usually a cardiologist. The screening is done as imaging tests and genetic tests. following are the diagnostic measures for this disease:
- Chest X-ray
- ECG or Echocardiogram
- CT or Computerised Tomography scan
- MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan
The goal of any treatment is to prevent the disease from progressing and detect to treat the root cause. In this case, intervention before the rupture of the disease is the main objective. The following are the usual course of treatment.
Not all abdominal aortic aneurysms need surgery. If your aneurysm is small, your doctor may decide to wait and watch carefully to see if there are any changes.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce it. If you smoke, your doctor may suggest that you find help in quitting. Your doctor may also ask you to make changes in your diet or exercise habits.
If the doctor feels there is a risk that the aortic aneurysm will burst, he or she may recommend one of two aneurysm repair methods: either open surgical repair or endovascular stent grafting.
High blood pressure or blockages in the heart may likely motivate the doctors to prescribe medications. Medications are of 3 types:
Angiotensin receptor blockers
It is best to abstain from Tobacco or smoking as they worsen aneurism.
Surgical methods are resorted to only after medication and other methods fail and the risk of rupture is imminent. Also if the dia of the aorta (determined using Ultrasound method) is more than 5 cm then surgery is presecribed. The doctors select the method of surgery, after evaluating the patient.
- Open Surgical Method
This was the usual method for surgery of AAA. With open surgical repair, the surgeon makes a large cut, or incision, into your abdomen where the aneurysm exists. The area damaged by the aneurysm is then separated surgically from the main part of the aorta and replaced with a synthetic tube (known as an aortic graft), that is sewn into place.
- Minimally invasive or Endovascular repair method
A less invasive alternative to open surgical repair is endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) using a special device called an endovascular stent graft. The stent graft is placed inside the damaged area of the aorta to separate the aneurysm from the normal blood flow. It is designed to be placed without surgically opening the aorta.