Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is an enlargement of a weak area of the main blood vessel (aorta) that carries blood away from the heart. A normal aorta is approximately one inch or less in diameter, while an aneurysm can grow to be more than five inches in diameter. The pressure of blood flowing through the artery can cause the weakened area to enlarge like a balloon. Larger aneurysms are more likely to burst than smaller ones, resulting in internal bleeding that is fatal unless treated immediately by an experienced emergency medical team. Because aneurysms can burst or rupture, they are considered a serious health condition. Only about half of patients with a ruptured AAA who get to a hospital survive.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms or ballooning of the abdominal aorta occur within the abdominal aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body. Many of these aneurysms can be repaired with less invasive techniques through the placement of endografts via small incisions in the groin area. Once the aneurysm has been diagnosed, initial treatment is often watchful waiting with periodic scans to determine size and growth rate of the aneurysm. When the risk of rupture outweighs the risk of surgery, our vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists will recommend the repair option best for you. About 80 to 90 percent of the aneurysms we evaluate can be repaired with minimally invasive procedures, sparing the patient longer recovery time, pain, and risk.
To watch a video of an endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair performed by our doctors click here.