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"Noninvasive diagnosis, minimally invasive therapy"

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) are abnormal outpouchings in the aorta, which is the largest artery or blood vessel in the abdomen. AAA is heavily associated with plaque formation within the arteries, high blood pressure, and smoking. In some instances, AAA can be hereditary so other members of the family should be checked for aneurysm generally when they turn 50.

The dreaded complication of AAA is rupture with massive internal bleeding. This is an immediate life threatening situation. AAA is usually asymptomatic until rupture. When rupture occurs, patients describe intense abdominal pain and back pain and should report to the emergency room immediately. Because rupture is most commonly seen in larger aneurysms, elective treatment is generally indicated when the aneurysm is greater than 5cm.

Previously, treatment of AAA was performed as an open surgical procedure with a large incision to expose the aorta located deep within the abdomen. The aneurysm was then opened and a surgical tube was sewn in place. The sac was then closed around the tube. Recovery time from this procedure was several weeks with long hospital stays.

Interventional Radiology Specialists, Inc. now offers a new, minimally-invasive approach for the treatment of AAA known as Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR). In this procedure, small incisions are made in the groins. The small arteries are accessed with tubes called catheters, and a covered graft or endograft is placed through these catheters and deployed into the aorta which diverts blood flow through the aneurysm. Recovery is based on healing of the small incisions in the groins and most patients are discharged from the hospital within about 2-3 days.

Not all patients are candidates for EVAR and you and your doctor will determine the most appropriate treatment.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact us.