You can have an aortic aneurysm for years and never develop symptoms if it doesn’t enlarge. When the aneurysm gets bigger, however, it increases your risk of a life-threatening rupture. Fellowship-trained vascular surgeon Pranay Ramdev, MD, FACS, at Vascular Interventional & Vein Associates, evaluates your risk, screens for aneurysms, and closely monitors the problem to determine when you need surgical intervention to prevent a rupture. To learn more about your risk for aortic aneurysms, call one of the offices in Vero Beach or Fort Pierce, Florida, or book an appointment online.
An aortic aneurysm occurs when a balloon-like bulge develops in a weakened area of the aorta. The aorta, the largest artery in your body, runs from your heart through your chest and abdomen, occasionally branching into smaller arteries that carry oxygenated blood throughout your body.
When the aneurysm occurs in the aorta as it travels through your chest, it’s called a thoracic aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm that develops as the aorta goes through your abdomen is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Aortic aneurysms may stay the same size for years or enlarge as blood collects in the bulge. A small aneurysm seldom causes symptoms.
As an aortic aneurysm gets larger, it may cause pain in your stomach, back, or chest. You may also feel a pulsing sensation in your abdomen.
Aortic aneurysms can rupture when they get too large, causing symptoms such as:
The aorta is such a large artery that a ruptured aneurysm causes extensive internal bleeding, making it a life-threatening medical emergency.
Dr. Ramdev diagnoses an aortic aneurysm and determines its size using imaging techniques such as an echocardiogram, computerized tomographic angiogram, or abdominal ultrasound.
If the aneurysm is small, Dr. Ramdev takes a watchful approach, closely monitoring its size and growth on a regular basis. He may also prescribe medications to lower your blood pressure, relax the artery, and lower your risk of a rupture.
When you have a large abdominal or thoracic aortic aneurysm, or one that’s rapidly enlarging or bleeding, Dr. Ramdev performs one of the following treatments in the hospital:
During this minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Ramdev uses real-time imaging to guide a catheter through the aorta to the aneurysm. He uses a balloon on the end of the catheter to place a small metal cylinder called a stent into the artery, then he removes the catheter.
The stent strengthens the artery wall and prevents blood from flowing into the bulging area. Over time, the aneurysm shrinks around the stent.
This procedure is done using open surgery to access the aneurysm through an incision in your abdomen. Then Dr. Ramdev removes the section of the artery with the aneurysm and replaces it with a graft made of a synthetic tube.
When you need comprehensive care for an aortic aneurysm, call Vascular Interventional & Vein Associates or book an appointment online.