What is a thoracic aortic aneurysm?
It is an abnormal bulge in your aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. An aortic aneurysm occurs in the main artery carrying blood from the left ventricle of the heart. When the size of an aneurysm increases, there is a high risk of rupture, resulting in severe bleeding, other complications or death. Aneurysms can be hereditary or caused by disease, both of which cause the wall of the blood vessel to weaken.
A surgery to repair the affected blood vessel or aortic aneurysms is called as Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Surgery.
Is a thoracic aortic aneurysm serious?
Researches have shown that if large thoracic aneurysms of the aorta left untreated, patients are more likely to die of complications associated with their aneurysms than from any other cause.
Doctors can usually treat small aneurysms with medication. But larger ones may need surgery. There are mainly two types of types of surgery for aortic aneurysms:
#1 Open Abdominal or Open Chest Repair
This is the most common surgery to repair an aortic aneurism, also it is the most invasive. Your cardiac surgeon will make a cut either in your belly or chest, depending on where your aneurysm is located.
Then the bulged section of aorta is removed and replaces it with a fabric graft, allowing blood to flow through the aorta without making it swell.
#2 Endovascular Repair or Endovascular Stent
If a patient can undergo open chest repair, the cardiac surgeon may suggest an endovascular repair. In this surgery, the surgeon inserts a flexible wire frame sewn onto a special fabric tube, called a stent graft, through small incisions in the groin into your aorta, using a catheter.
The stent graft helps support the weakened artery wall.
Complications after thoracic aneurysm surgery may include:
What is the success rate of aortic aneurysm surgery?
90.3 percent, with patients surviving an average of almost nine years after surgery.
Can aortic aneurysm heal itself?
Once an aneurysm develops along the aorta, it will not disappear or reduce in size on its own. Although certain medications are used to slow the growth of an aneurysm, they are not a cure.
What size aneurysm requires surgery?
The largest international study to date has showed a record of unruptured aneurysms smaller than 10 mm (about the size of a raisin) had a very tiny risk of rupture.
How long does thoracic aortic aneurysm surgery take?
Open surgical repair takes about two to four hours.
How long will it take me to recover?
Most people remain in the hospital for 5-7 days, and might feel weak for a week or two post surgery. It takes around six weeks before the sternum is completely healed.
Will I need to resume old medications, or take any new ones?
All medications and care is provided by a team approach with your cardiac surgeon and cardiologists. You will be properly guided with appropriate medications regimen.