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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm -- 718.780.3288

An abdominal aneurysm (sometimes called Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm or AAA) is when the aorta traveling from the heart, down through the body and into the legs, bulges in the abdominal region.

This swelling, or AAA, can cause the aorta to expand too much and eventually burst or rupture, which in turn can lead to severe internal bleeding and may be fatal.

How Do I Know if Im at Risk?
It is not possible to feel any symptoms from AAA, but you could experience the following:

  • A heartbeat-like pulse in your abdomen
  • Sudden or severe pain in the abdomen or lower back which may indicate the aneurysm is about to burst
  • Pain, discoloration or sores on the toes or feet. This is rare, however, and due to material shed.

If the aneurysm bursts, you may feel dizziness, pain, acute weakness, and could even lose consciousness. You should seek medical help immediately as this is life threatening.

No one knows exactly what causes AAA, but many believe it is due to inflammation in the aorta, causing its wall to weaken. It can be associated with hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure and smoking. AAA is more common in men than women, and the risk increases with age and hereditary factors.

How is it Diagnosed?
Most often, an AAA is discovered through imaging tests like an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. If your doctor feels a large, pulsing mass in your abdomen on a routine exam, one of these tests may be recommended.

What is the Treatment?
For small AAAs, your physician may just monitor you closely, checking for signs of change in size, prescribing blood pressure medication if that’s an issue, and directing you to change behaviors like smoking. An aneurysm will not go away on its own.

At NYM, we also perform open aneurysm repairs where our surgeons remove the weakened part of the aorta and insert a tube-like replacement or graft. This allows blood to travel freely and prevents the threat of rupture.

Another treatment option is an Endovascular Stent Graft, which is a procedure that takes place inside the artery itself using long thin tubes called catheters. This also allows blood to travel freely and strengthens the aorta, but does not remove the weakened portion. Your physician can recommend the best treatment option based on several factors.

For more information on AAA and treatment options, talk to one of our surgeons by calling 718.780.3288.

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