Aortic Aneurysm (cont.)
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Aortic Aneurysm Medical Treatment
The treatment of this condition depends on the patient's overall health, the size and location of the aneurysm, and whether the person is having symptoms. The risks and benefits of surgery for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are different than those for thoracic aortic aneurysms and are listed below.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms are unlikely to rupture if they develop slowly, are less than 5.5 cm (about 2 inches) in diameter, and are causing no symptoms.
Any abdominal aortic aneurysm larger than about 2 inches (5.5 cm) in size requires surgery to repair it. Aneurysms that are enlarging rapidly, causing symptoms, or showing signs of probably rupture (such as leaking) require immediate surgery. Delaying this surgery puts the patient at even greater risk of a rupture.
Thoracic aortic aneurysms may originate in either the ascending or descending aorta and, because of their closer proximity to the heart than abdominal aortic aneurysms, they have greater potential to harm the heart or create other problems related to the heart.
In most cases, a medication (beta blocker) that lowers blood pressure and relieves stress on the artery wall will be given to reduce the stress on the weakened part of the vessel. Lowering of blood pressure is usually done in the intensive care unit with intravenous medications and continuous monitoring of the blood pressure.
Shabir Bhimji, MD
Bryan Hoynak, MD
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Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) represent a degenerative process of the abdominal aorta that is often attributed to atherosclerosis; however, the exact cause is not known. A familiar clustering of AAAs has been noted in 15-25% of patients undergoing repair of the problem.