What Is an Aortic Aneurysm?
An aortic aneurysm is a swelling that represents a fundamental weakness in the wall of the aorta, the artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of body. An aneurysm in this artery may cause internal bleeding and blockages in the leg arteries if it bursts or leaks. When such a condition occurs, the patient should be quickly transferred to a healthcare center where replacement surgery can be performed on the artery in question.
Symptoms of an Aortic Aneurysm
There are quite often no symptomatic warnings of an impending aortic aneurysm but as the vessel enlarges, symptoms such as abdominal pain and back pain tend to develop. Numbness is often common due to the compression of nerves in the area. A rupture can cause severe pain and may lead to internal hemorrhaging and sudden death.
Healthcare Treatment for an Aortic Aneurysm
The healthcare procedure involved is performed under general anesthesia. The procedure takes 3-4 hours and involves an incision made near the location of the rupture. A new artery (a tube made of a strong plastic fabric) is inserted into the swollen area of the aorta and held in place with the help of stitches. In the case of femoral arteries, an extra 2 incisions are needed near the groin. In cases where there are two or more ruptures, it is standard procedure to operate on one rupture at a time, although severe cases occasionally call for more drastic surgery. The replacement arteries should remain intact for 20 years or more.
Preventing Aortic Aneurysms
Extensive prevention measures can be taken through avoiding lifestyle habits (including smoking) and foods known to encourage high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Screening for aortic aneurysms using ultrasound scans at an appropriate healthcare center is also important for early detection.